Azerbaijan, Finland mull ties

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has met Finnish counterpart Erkki Tuomioja on the sidelines of the 21st OSCE Ministerial Council in Basel, Switzerland.

The sides discussed the development of bilateral relations between the two countries, as well as cooperation within international organizations.

They hailed Azerbaijan’s contribution to the European energy security, and stressed the importance of Trans Adriatic and Trans Anatolian gas pipelines.

Mammadyarov briefed the Finnish side on the negotiations on the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He said Armenian Armed Forces must be first withdrawn from the occupied Azerbaijani territories for ensuring peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Noting that Armenia obstructs the negotiation process, Mammadyarov drew his Finnish counterpart`s attention to the large-scale provocative military exercises conducted in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict emerged in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since a lengthy war in the early 1990s that displaced over one million Azerbaijanis, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions. Long-standing efforts by U.S., Russian and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far.