Ilham Aliyev: Armenia tries to disrupt Minsk Group co-chairs’ activity at all costs (UPDATE)
Details added (first version posted on 11:53)
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 19
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has today received OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs Stephane Visconti, Igor Popov, Richard Hoagland, as well as Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk.
"After your visit to Armenia and occupied Azerbaijani territories and on the eve of the visit to Azerbaijan, Armenia committed another military provocation against Azerbaijan on the line of contact, killing one Azerbaijani soldier. As usual the Azerbaijani army gave an adequate retaliation, and you are aware of the results. This has not come as a surprise to me because as always before some important event or your visit, Armenia commits such provocations," said the head of state.
"We have witnessed this a few times – in 2014, 2016 and now as well. They, of course, know that we will give an adequate response to any military provocation against our civilians and servicemen. They are inciting our side so that then they accuse Azerbaijan of violating the ceasefire. It is sufficient to look at the chronology of the events so that you can see when the Azerbaijani soldier was killed by the Armenian army and when our country gave an adequate response to this. So, the Armenian administration is responsible for the recent ceasefire violation on the line of contact, and the army of aggressor Armenia is responsible for any consequences," added the president.
At the same time, the head of state noted that Azerbaijan is committed to the ceasefire regime. President Ilham Aliyev said the situation on the line of contact has been relatively calm recently, adding that this is an important factor for speeding up the negotiations.
"However, the developments have clearly showed that Armenia tries to disrupt the activities of Minsk Group co-chairs at all costs," he said.
The head of state stressed that Armenia tries to draw attention only to security issues and uses all this as a pretext to accuse Azerbaijan of violating the ceasefire. This is a fully unfair and unjust position, said the Azerbaijani president.
OSCE Minsk Group’s Russian co-chair Igor Popov thanked President Ilham Aliyev for his remarks. Igor Popov noted that this serious ceasefire violation during the visit of the co-chairs to Azerbaijan causes deep disappointment.
"This situation will be reflected in a statement that we will make upon the conclusion of our visit," he said.
OSCE Minsk Group’s French co-chair Stephane Visconti, American co-chair Richard Hoagland as well as Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk commented on the negotiation process.
During the meeting, the sides discussed the current state and prospects of the talks on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.