Azerbaijan FM: Conflicts in OSCE area remain most serious threat to peace, security

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Ongoing conflicts in the OSCE area remain the most serious threat to peace and security, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said, Trend reports.

Mammadyarov made the remarks at the 25th Ministerial Council of the OSCE in Milan.

“The principled position of Azerbaijan runs in line with the norms and principles of international law, particularly in respect of states’ territorial integrity, sovereignty within their internationally recognized borders,” he added.

“Since our last meeting of the Ministerial Council in Vienna, so far we still have seen no concrete progress towards resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict,” Mammadyarov said. “The fundamental principles of inadmissibility of use of force for the acquisition of territory and ensuing obligation of non-recognition of situation resulting from serious violations of international law and refraining from rendering aid or assistance in maintaining this situation, regretfully, are applied selectively by the mediating countries.”

“In the meantime, we witnessed consistent attempts of Armenia with active support of their Diaspora continued unlawful practice on altering demographic, cultural and physical character of the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, infringing upon the human rights of hundreds of thousands of forcibly displaced Azerbaijanis, including the right to return to their homes of origin,” the minister added. “In flagrant violation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their additional Protocols, Armenia has continued illegal resettlement and other activities in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.”

“Relevant UN Security Council resolutions, principles of the Helsinki Final Act and decisions and documents of the OSCE form the basis for conflict resolution and for mandate of the Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Conference,” he said.

“Azerbaijan believes that there is no alternative to peace, stability and mutually beneficial regional cooperation and is the most interested party in the earliest political settlement of the conflict,” Mammadyarov said.

“The resolution of the conflict is possible only on the basis of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders,” the minister added. “The military occupation of the territory of Azerbaijan does not represent a solution and will never produce a political outcome desired by Armenia.”

“For the first time within a year, we managed to agree the Joint Statement by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries and foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan,” he said. “One of the major points is of course intensified and result-oriented talks, including the talks on the high level. I believe whenever elections will be over in Armenia and new Government will be formed, we must make a breakthrough next year and build up a good opportunity for bringing peace, stability and prosperity to the region.”

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.