Special Envoy: NATO concerned over tense situation on contact line between Armenia and Azerbaijan (UPDATE)
Details added (the first version was posted at 10:32)
Azerbaijan, Baku, July 5 / Trend, M.Aliyev /
NATO is concerned over tense situation on the contact line between Armenia and Azerbaijan in recent months, the Alliance's special representative for South Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai told reporters in Baku on Thursday.
Appathurai said NATO supports the OSCE Minsk Group's efforts on the conflict resolution.
He said NATO is not directly involved in the negotiation process on the resolution of Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno Karabakh conflict, but it supports all efforts.
"We want mutual peace between the two countries. NATO supports peace and security in the region. NATO stands for return of IDPs to their homeland. We fully support the OSCE Minsk Group's activity on the resolution of the conflict," Appathurai added.
It should be noted that Appathurai attended the opening ceremony of Jeyranchol project jointly organized by Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) and NATO in Baku.
During his speech NATO special envoy appreciated ANAMA's technical capabilities, and stressed that several projects have been implemented with the support of NATO.
Appathurai said Azerbaijan's NATO membership issue is not included in the agenda.
He said at present, Azerbaijan-NATO partnership is developing.
"We will try to further continue this cooperation. Azerbaijani militaries are involved in military operations in Afghanistan within NATO Partnership for Peace programme. We consider it as Azerbaijan's contribution to NATO," Appathurai said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France and the U.S. - are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.