Premature to discuss peacekeepers’ deployment in Nagorno-Karabakh - NATO official
The deployment of peacekeeping units in Azerbaijan's separatist region Nagorno-Karabakh could be a possible element of a political settlement, but no such political settlement has been reached yet, James Appathurai, NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia said, Tert.am news website reported.
Commenting on NATO's position on the possible deployment of peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh occupied by Armenia against the backdrop of the deteriorating Russian-Turkish relations, he said it is premature to discuss such a scenario, according to the website.
"We need movement towards a settlement," he said. "So I support the renewed efforts of the Minsk Group co-chairs and hope that during 2016 we will see a fruitful dialogue between the Armenian and Azerbaijani side."
Asked to comment on the possible scenario of developments in the South Caucasus republics (which cooperate with the North-Atlantic Alliance) against the backdrop of the deteriorating Russia-Turkey relations, Appathurai said he is sure that the tension between the two countries will not affect the partnership.
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 the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.