Azerbaijan accuses Armenia of escalating tensions on contact line
Baku, Azerbaijan, March 18
Armenia's criminal military and political leadership is responsible for the escalation of tensions on the contact line of Armenian and Azerbaijani troops, Azerbaijani defense minister, colonel general Zakir Hasanov said, the country's defense ministry told Trend March 18.
He made the remarks in Baku during a meeting with the delegation led by Gunther Bachler, special representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for the South Caucasus.
The Azerbaijani minister also talked about the military and political situation in the region, Armenia's occupation of Azerbaijani lands.
Armenia's criminal and terrorist leadership carried out state-level genocide against Azerbaijani civilians, Hasanov said. The only way to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in line with the principles and norms of international law is the withdrawal of the occupying Armenian forces from Azerbaijan's territories, according to the minister.
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 withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.
Gunther Bachler, in his turn, spoke about the priorities of the German OSCE Chairmanship. He added that special attention is paid to the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict which threatens peace and stability in the region.
In addition, the sides discussed the prospects of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the OSCE, as well as several issues of mutual interest at the meeting.