Details added (first version posted on 18:40)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 7
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
Upcoming meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers will demonstrate if Armenia is a serious partner for peace and genuinely interested in engaging constructively in substantial talks on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said during the 24th OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting in Vienna Dec. 7.
"Yesterday, all together with co-chairs, we spent eight hours negotiating on the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict resolution. From one point of view, it is good. Reinvigoration of substantive result-oriented talks just can raise some reasons for co-chairs’ optimism.”
The minister pointed out that during the meeting in Vienna yesterday, the sides discussed very substantial issues with a view to finding out the ways of bringing positions of two sides – Armenia and Azerbaijan – closer towards the settlement.
“We agreed that next September we will have more substantial discussions on how to move forward the peace talks,” added Mammadyarov.
He said Yerevan continues its unlawful practice of altering demographic, cultural, physical character in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. He noted that the latest development, which caused a huge concern of Azerbaijan was the opening of a church in the occupied Jabrayil district, where no single Armenian used to live.
“It was totally populated by Azerbaijanis, who were ethnically cleansed in 1993. This is for us another manifestation of Armenian gross violation of humanitarian law. Such steps, including armed provocations on the line of contact undermine peace efforts and shall be comprehensively addressed by OSCE Minsk Group and its co-chairs,” added the minister.
Mammadyarov pointed out that the resolutions of UN Security Council do not call, not even urge, but demand immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces from all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and urge assisting the return of internally displaced persons to their homes.
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.