Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 25
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
South Caucasus, the basins of the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea, have always been of great importance for Turkey, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with Trend during his visit to Azerbaijan.
"Unfortunately, there are such protracted problems in this region as Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazian and South Ossetian conflicts, which are a source of uncertainty," he said.
The minister said that the ethnic, religious conflicts or those based on territorial claims and a lack of security negatively affect the solution to these problems.
"A peaceful solution to these problems within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and Georgia is a factor that serves not only the interests of the people of the region, but also the international community," Cavusoglu said.
Cavusoglu said that the above-mentioned problems have the potential for posing threats to peace and stability in Eurasia, including the South Caucasus.
"Therefore, the world community, international organizations, the UN and the OSCE in particular, must intensify their efforts to resolve the conflicts in the region," he said.
"I would like to emphasize that a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is one of the main priorities of Turkey's foreign policy. Therefore, we always carefully follow the processes related to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We intensify the efforts as part of the OSCE Minsk Group."
He said that as a member of the Minsk Group, Turkey always raises the issue of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at the multilateral platforms and the negotiations with the third countries.
"Turkey considers the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as its own problem," he said.
"We will continue working to inform the international community and to rapidly resolve this problem in the interests of fraternal Azerbaijan," Cavusoglu said.
Cavusoglu also said that the EU attaches great importance to Azerbaijan.
"Azerbaijan is a major gateway for the EU to the Caspian region and Central Asia," he said. "Azerbaijan has the potential which can contribute to the EU in many areas, especially in the energy and transport security."
The EU's efforts in intensifying the relations with the regional countries are obvious as part of Eastern Partnership.
"As a country aspiring to the EU membership and well aware of the regional peculiarities, Turkey is carefully monitoring the Eastern Partnership project," he said. "We believe that this initiative must be developed, taking into account the economic priorities and interests of the regional countries."
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 US are currently holding peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
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UN, OSCE must multiply efforts to solve Karabakh conflict – Turkish FM
Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 25