Principal Suggestions Leading to Return of Azerbaijani Territory Are on Agenda – OSCE Minsk Group
I do not see any connection between the Kosovo conflict and the events that took place in Nagorno-Karabakh. It is of no importance that somebody sees any connection. In this regard it should be mentioned that supporting the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, we consider the status of Nagorno-Karabakh to be a good subject for negotiations. At the same time, we call on both the sides to adhere to ceasefire agreement, the U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Matthew Bryza told to Voice of America .
Bryza said he is seriously concerned about the breach of ceasefire. "Serious clashes occurred between the Azerbaijani and Armenian troops. We want to be sure that the status-quo will be restored. It is important for both sides to iron out the tensions. Nobody should derive political benefit from the tragic events," he said.
From the early hours of 4 March, the Armenian armed forces violated, in several directions, the peace agreement on the frontline of Azerbaijan and Armenia in the occupied territory of Azerbaijan
The Azerbaijani Defence Ministry said that during the gunfire with Armenia, 12 Armenian soldiers were killed and 15 injured, and four Azerbaijani soldiers were killed and one sustained injuries. The situation on the frontline is relatively calm at the moment.
As to the statements that there are conceptual differences amongst the programs suggested by the OSCE Minsk Group, the American diplomat said "Of course, the program which was suggested 10 years ago and the one being currently suggested differs dramatically. OSCE MG has never worked so intensively to develop concrete proposals. Therefore, there are no grounds to compare the current program with the previous one. We have profoundly advanced since that time. The complex of principal suggestions leading to the return of Azerbaijani territories is on the agenda. That concerns the corridor connecting Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, presence of international peacekeeping troops. All these issues will be included to form the basis for a peaceful agreement, which will promote the prosperity of the region. So, the agenda includes unique and fundamental principles which require being put into practice," Bryza said.
The conflict between the two countries of the South Caucasus began in 1988 due to Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan lost the Nagorno-Karabakh, except of Shusha and Khojali, in December 1991. In 1992-93, Armenian Armed Forces occupied Shusha, Khojali and Nagorno-Karabakh's seven surrounding regions. In May 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France, and the US) are currently holding peaceful, but fruitless negotiations.