BAKU, Azerbaijan, Dec. 3
By Leman Zeynalova - Trend:
It is expected that Azerbaijan and Armenia will start substantive negotiations on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict Dec. 4 in Bratislava city, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said at a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Baku, Trend reports Dec. 3.
Mammadyarov noted that Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan intends to raise the issue of security.
"How do we understand security and how does Armenia understand it? There is an understanding that the armed forces must first return to the barracks,” Azerbaijani foreign minister said. “Yes, security is important, but for Azerbaijan as well, for its population in Karabakh. We turned to the [OSCE Minsk Group] co-chairs to prepare a report on the assessment of the situation and resolving the security issue. Serious substantive negotiations are needed for this. I think that we will hold these negotiations tomorrow. The expectations from the meeting with the Armenian counterpart in Bratislava tomorrow are that we should move forward.”
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, 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 Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding districts.