Azerbaijan, Baku / corr Trend A.Ismayilova / Elmar Mammadyarov, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, stated on 5 June that a referendum on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh should be carried out throughout Azerbaijan.
Mammadyarov stated that only holding the referendum in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh contradicts the Constitution of Azerbaijan. In talks with journalists, he also stated that at the moment the issue on the returning of Lachin District has been co-ordinated, while the issue on the corridor is still questionable. The minister stated that exceptional changes should not be expected after the meeting of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in St. Petersburg to be held on 9 June.
Should an agreement be reached between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the resolution of the conflict over the next 6 months, an international expert group will be dispatched to the region to oversee the rehabilitation of these areas.
The conflict between the two countries of the South Caucasus appeared in 1988 due to the territorial claims of Armenia against Azerbaijan. Armenia has occupied 20% of the Azerbaijani lands including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven districts of the country surrounding it. From 1992 to the present time, these territories have been under the occupation of the Armenian Forces. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a cease-fire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France and USA) are presently holding peaceful negotiations. .