Baku, Azerbaijan, June 7
Recent processes once again demonstrate that the Armenian community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region is under the captivity of a mafia structure, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry's spokesman Hikmet Hajiyev told Trend on June 7.
Hajiyev commented on the recent statement of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who addressing the Armenian Parliament on June 7, claimed that the negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict cannot be effective without participation of the separatist regime.
"Baku considers such statements by the Armenian leadership as a non-constructive step aimed at undermining the negotiation process on the conflict settlement and keeping the occupation status quo," Hajiyev said.
"Presence of the Armenian armed forces in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and continuation of the occupation define direct international legal responsibility of Armenia as a party to the conflict. If the Armenian leadership is concerned that 'the agreements reached remain on paper', they should comply with requirements of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, which demand the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying troops from the Azerbaijani territories," he said.
Hajiyev further reminded the new Armenian leadership that the civic status of the Armenian community of Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region has not changed.
"Together with the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh they still are citizens of Azerbaijan. The recent processes taking place in Nagorno-Karabakh have once again demonstrated that the Armenian community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan is totally in captivity and exploited by an organized criminal group," Hajiyev said.
The Azerbaijani side, according to Hajiyev, has repeatedly expressed its position openly and unequivocally regarding the negotiation process.
"Azerbaijan is ready to continue negotiations on the basis of the existing format and agenda for an early resolution of the conflict, provision of sustainable peace and security in the region. The negotiations are aimed at withdrawing the Armenian troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, ensuring the return of Azerbaijani IDPs, who were subjected to ethnic cleansing, to their native lands. The Armenian side must understand that holding negotiations with Armenia, which is an invader and an aggressor country, for more than 25 years is the biggest compromise of Azerbaijan," Hajiyev stressed.
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 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.