Armenia should withdraw troops from occupied lands: Official

By: Sara Rajabova

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be solved at the roots, not just with the pretense of being solved, as Armenia does.

The remarks were made by Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Elman Abdullayev who talked to Trend Agency, commenting on the recent statement of Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian on resolving the conflict.

Armenia should understand that the longer Yerevan delays settling the conflict, the more it will lose, Abdullayev said.

“Almost in all their statements, the presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have clearly indicated that the status quo is unacceptable and must be changed. This notion was once again repeated in the last statement of the OSCE Minsk Group,” Abdullayev said.

He noted that Azerbaijan’s occupied territories cannot be named differently, because the occupation is evident to all.

“They are called ‘occupied’ not only by the Minsk Group co-chairs, but also by the world community which understands and accepts the fact that these territories are part of Azerbaijan and have been under Armenia’s occupation for many years,” Abdullayev said.

Regarding the withdrawal of snipers, human casualties, creation of a mechanism to investigate incidents, and tensions on the front line, the whole responsibility falls on Yerevan, because Armenia is the occupier.

“This is a historical responsibility, and it is already time for Armenia to realize that it cannot bear this burden with impunity forever and has to be accountable for it. The basis of the tension in general is the fact of occupation and the physical presence of Armenian Armed Forces on Azerbaijan’s territory,” Abdullayev said.

Touching upon the latest statement of the OSCE Minsk Group, Abdullayev said the gradual settlement of the conflict is based on the six principles of the Madrid document referred to by the co-chairs.

He noted that the first step and the foundation of the Madrid Document is the compulsory withdrawal of Armenian troops from Azerbaijan’s occupied territories.

“Yes, we have agreed on the provisions of the Madrid document as the basic principles for settling the conflict, and now Armenia should demonstrate its political will and begin to fulfill the main condition, starting with the withdrawal of troops. It is not possible to create trust between the parties of the conflict at gunpoint,” he said.

Abdullayev also said there is hope that with the latest statement of the OSCE, Armenia will get the necessary message, including the unacceptability of the status quo, and that halting the negotiation process through various tricks will not work.

OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs issued a statement on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of signing a ceasefire agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia, renewing their call for the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

For over two decades, Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a conflict which emerged over Armenia’s territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor. Since a war in the early 1990s, the Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions.

A fragile ceasefire has been in place since 1994, but long-standing efforts by US, Russian, and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far.

Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council’s four resolutions on its pullout from its neighboring country’s territories.


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