BAKU: FM: OSCE MG must demand Armenia to withdraw troops from Azerbaijani lands

AzerNews, Azerbaijan

By Rashid Shirinov

The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs must in the first place follow the updated Madrid principles they prepared, and demand Armenia to withdraw troops from the occupied Azerbaijani territories, said Hikmat Hajiyev, the spokesman for Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry.

He commented on the recent statement by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, who condemned the recent ceasefire violations on the contact line between the Azerbaijani and Armenian troops.

“The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs must also urge Armenia to continue substantive negotiations to find a political solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the UN Security Council’s resolutions,” Hajiyev told Trend on May 19.

Hajiyev further mentioned that on May 18, the day of the 25th anniversary of Armenia’s occupation of Azerbaijan’s Lachin region, President Serzh Sargsyan made a speech at the Armenian Parliament, where he refuted the updated Madrid principles.

“On the backdrop of this, the standard statement of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, only touching upon the issues of violation of the ceasefire regime, is very symptomatic,” the spokesman added.

Hajiyev stressed that about 80,000 people of the Lachin region, as well as residents of other occupied Azerbaijani territories, have been living as refugees and IDPs for over 25 years. “The fact that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs didn't mention this in their statement is an unfair and biased approach.”

“The authors of the statement, which reflects concern only regarding the ceasefire violation, once again turn a blind eye to the illegal presence of the Armenian armed forces’ military equipment and personnel on the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan,” spokesman said.

Hajiyev added that the presence of the Armenian armed forces in the occupied Azerbaijani lands is the main reason why escalation and ceasefire violations remain, and everyone knows this.

Armenia captured Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions from Azerbaijan in a war that followed the Soviet breakup in 1991. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and nearly 1 million were displaced as a result of the war.

Large-scale hostilities ended with a Russia-brokered ceasefire in 1994 but Armenia continued the occupation in defiance of four UN Security Council resolutions calling for immediate and unconditional withdrawal.

Peace talks mediated by Russia, France and the U.S. within the OSCE Minsk Group have produced no results so far.