Occupation of Azerbaijani lands by Armenia continues to pose threat to regional peace – FM

Politics Materials 4 December 2014 13:34 (UTC +04:00)
The ongoing occupation of territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia, pose a serious threat to international, regional peace and security.
Occupation of Azerbaijani lands by Armenia continues to pose threat to regional peace – FM

Basel, Switzerland, Dec. 4

By Elchin Huseynov - Trend:

The ongoing occupation of territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia, pose a serious threat to international, regional peace and security, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said, speaking at the 21st OSCE Ministerial Council that kicked off in Basel, Switzerland on Dec.4.

Mammadyarov noted that Armenia blatantly disregards with the international law and relevant four UN Security Council resolutions adopted in 1993.

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 two countries 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 four U.N. Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

Mammadyarov added that OSCE remains the unique instrument and platform enabling the participating states to find common response to evolving challenges.

"For non-block countries like Azerbaijan, OSCE is the only multilateral engagement format where we can promote and defend our interests from leverages of unilateral domination," he said.

"We feel considerable discomfort with an increased competition of opposing political-military blocks, since this deepens the dividing lines and further diminishes the role of OSCE in European security architecture," Mammadyarov added.

He said the OSCE must be used to build a network of trustful and secure relations both between enlarging political/military blocks and non-block OSCE participating states.

The minister added that the current OSCE agenda is over dominated by an intentional increasing focus on the issues of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

With full support for the issues of democracy building, regretfully, sometimes we see a lack of comprehensive and integral approach, double standards, breaches of mandates by some OSCE institutions and attempts to jeopardize stability and development of OSCE participating states under the pretext of human rights concerns, said the minister.

"We urge relevant OSCE institutions to undertake serious efforts to restore the trust and to implement their respective mandates without double standards, geographical and other preferences."

Moreover, the minister said that the protracted conflicts in the OSCE area still, unfortunately, are the main threats to peace and security on the European continent.

"Strengthening the OSCE mediation capacity shall be accompanied by a firm resistance to selective interpretation of the founding principles of the Helsinki Final Act and against the attempts to consolidate results of violations of internationally recognized borders of OSCE participating states," Mammadyarov said.

The minister said that the ongoing occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia continues to pose a serious threat to international and regional peace and security.

Unfortunately, after recent presidential meetings of Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in Sochi, Wales and last round of talks in Paris, the armed forces of Armenia held provocative large-scale military exercises on the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, said the minister.

He added that at all three meetings there were some positive indications that the progress at peace negotiations could be achieved.

"Such a provocative demonstration of force by Armenia absolutely does not correspond to the spirit of these talks, the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries' leaders and undermine confidence building to reach political solution for the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied lands of Azerbaijan."

Mammadyarov reminded that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs had already expressed their concern about this large-scale Armenian military exercise in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, which included huge number of military personal and equipment.

That kind of military exercises of Armenia must be assessed as attempts not only to hinder the mediators' efforts to reach progress on the peace talks, but also to continue consolidate the occupation of the territories, Azerbaijani minister added.

"Azerbaijan has repeatedly stated, and I would like to reiterate it once again that presence of Armenia's armed forces on the occupied territories is major destabilizing factor with the potential for escalation at any time with unpredictable consequences."

The government of Armenia must realize that reliance on the status-quo achieved as a result of military aggression by the use of force is a grave miscalculation, said Mammadyarov.

He added that the occupation of the territory of Azerbaijan and ethnic cleansing of local population from homes of their origin does not represent a solution and will never produce a political outcome desired by Armenia.

"Withdrawal of Armenia's troops can be a significant confidence building measure and will completely change the dynamic of the peace process and open up immense opportunities for comprehensive and sustainable development of the South Caucasus region," the foreign minister said.

Mammadyarov stressed once again the readiness of Azerbaijan to start the work on drafting of the peace agreement that was supported and urged by French President Francois Hollande at Paris summit, as well as by Minsk Group co-chairs.

"All of us must encourage Armenia seriously consider such important initiative," he said.