Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 24
By Seba Aghayeva – Trend:
Azerbaijan is ready to continue close cooperation with the newly appointed US co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group on settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry’s Spokesman Hikmat Hajiyev told Trend, Aug. 24.
In general, Azerbaijan’s expectations from the OSCE Minsk Group carry institutional, not an individual character, noted Hajiyev.
Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, in line with their mandate and on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, should ensure the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the occupied Azerbaijani territories, contribute to the restoration of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their native lands, added the Azerbaijani official.
Nonetheless, in 25 years of its existence, the Minsk Group has not been able to ensure the achievement of these aims, said Hajiyev.
OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, who also are the permanent members of the UN Security Council, had directly participated in the adoption of the Council’s resolutions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, he noted. These resolutions reconfirm the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan and demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the occupied Azerbaijani territories, added the official.
“We are grateful to the interim US co-chair Richard Hoagland for his activity, particularly, for demonstration of the principled position of the US (co-chairing the Minsk Group) in the question of ensuring the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the occupied Azerbaijani territories, and wish him success in his future professional activity,” said Hajiyev.
It should be noted that, Andrew Schofer has been appointed as the new permanent US co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group. Schofer is a very experienced senior US diplomat, who most recently served as charge d’affaires at the US Mission to International Organizations in Vienna.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988, when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.