Baku, Azerbaijan, April 20
By Matanat Nasibova – Trend:
Against the background of the intensification of negotiations on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Armenian side once again attempted to mislead the world community with statements that contradict the norms of international law.
Thus, in a recent interview to the French Le Figaro newspaper, Armenian Foreign Minister Zograb Mnatsakanyan stated that settlement of the conflict can only be political, and the only format to achieve this is the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship, adding, however, that those living in the Nagorno-Karabakh region should participate in this process. At the same time, he did not specify whether he also meant the Azerbaijani community, which had been subjected more than once to ethnic cleansing by Armenia.
He said that it is impossible to conduct peace negotiations in an atmosphere of hatred. “In our opinion, the main issue is the security of 150,000 Armenians who live in Artsakh,” he noted. “They are under constant threat, given the atmosphere of hatred towards them.”
Commenting on the statements of the Armenian diplomat, the Head of the Expert Council of the Baku Network, Ph.D. Elkhan Alasgarov told Trend that Mnatsakanyan lied at least seven times in two sentences.
"First, there is no so-called Artsakh, as all international documents refer to the occupied territories of Nagorno-Karabakh region,” Alasgarov said. “Second, there are no 150,000 Armenians in these territories; there are a maximum of 50,000 Armenians there most of whom are the Armenian soldiers, including Pashinyan’s son. It is necessary to conduct a population census there.”
“Third, the cornerstone of the negotiations is the de-occupation of the territories, which is required in all peace plans,” Alasgarov added. “Fourth, the Armenians living there fell hostages to the policy of Yerevan that turned the occupied territories into a concentration camp, which no one is allowed to leave. Fifth, Mnatsakanyan does not “notice” Azerbaijani refugees, which, in accordance with the “Madrid Principles”, should return to the Nagorno-Karabakh region.”
The expert noted that the atmosphere of hatred and threat is caused by the occupation, and that nothing can be healed without de-occupation.
“The hatred is cultivated by the Armenian side, which makes territorial claims not only to Azerbaijan, but also to Turkey, Georgia and Iran,” Alasgarov added.
Russian, Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov, Elmar Mammadyarov and Zograb Mnatsakanyan held a working meeting in Moscow on April 15 upon the initiative of the Russian side. OSCE Minsk Group’s co-chairs (Igor Popov of Russia, Andrew Schofer of the US and Stéphane Visconti of France) as well as Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk also joined them.
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.
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