Issue of Azerbaijani refugees to be raised before Australian public, officials (exclusive)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 3
By Anvar Mammadov - Trend:
The economic and political relations between Azerbaijan and Australia are still being developed and have great potential, Luke Simpkins, the chairman of the Australia-Azerbaijan parliamentary group, Australian MP, said in an exclusive interview with Trend.
Simpkins is on a visit to Baku.
"Our countries have very good opportunities for further expansion of relations in the spheres of education, agriculture," he said. "We are looking for cooperation opportunities in other areas."
"Unfortunately, Azerbaijan and Australia are at a great distance from each other," he said. "But the relations between the two countries are being gradually strengthened and expanded through the efforts of the Azerbaijani diaspora in Australia."
Simpkins said that during his visit to Azerbaijan, he also visited Ganja city where he met with refugees and IDPs from Kelbajar district.
"Being in Ganja, we met with IDPs from Kelbajar district of Azerbaijan on our own initiative to get detailed information about them," said Simpkins. "Also, we asked for information on internally displaced persons in a written way. On our return to Australia we will raise this issue before the ministry of foreign affairs."
The MP said that very little is known in Australia regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.
"Before Azerbaijan-Australia parliamentary group started its activity, we knew practically nothing about this conflict," said Simpkins. "Our group has to do a lot of work for the Australian public to learn about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict."
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 the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.