BAKU: Baku criticises mediators’ comments on ceasefire violations

APA, Azerbaijan

Baku criticises mediators' comments on ceasefire violations

[Armenian News note: the below is translated from the Russian edition of APA]

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman has accused the OSCE Minsk
Group co-chairmen of demonstrating unfair and non-objective approach
in their recent statement concerning the latest ceasefire violation
incidents in the Karabakh conflict zone.

He also described as "symptomatic" that the co-chairs' "standard
statement" spoke only about ceasefire violations but did not mentioned
that 18 May marked the 25th anniversary of Azerbaijan's Lacin District
coming under control of Armenian troops.

"Some 80,000 residents of Lacin became refugees and IDPs, just like
residents of other occupied districts of Azerbaijan. Although on that
day [18 May when the co-chairs' statement was issued] 25 years turned
since the occupation of Lacin District, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs
did not mention that in their statement which is unfair and
non-objective approach," APA news agency quoted Hikmat Haciyev as
saying on 19 May.

Haciyev said that the Minsk Group co-chairs did not mention that
Armenian troops are present on Azerbaijan's territory and that
Armenian troops recently shelled Azeri residential areas in the
vicinity of the frontline.

"Unfortunately, being concerned about ceasefire violations, in their
statement the Minsk Group co-chairs turned a blind eye to the fact
that hardware and troops of Armenia's armed forces are present
illegally on the sovereign territories of Azerbaijan," Haciyev said.

"The Armenian armed forces's illegal presence in the occupied
territories of Azerbaijan is the major reason for escalation of
tension on the frontline and violations of ceasefire," he said.

"The armed forces of the Azerbaijan Republic are present on the
sovereign territory of Azerbaijan and are defending the country and
ensuring the safety of its civilian population in circumstances when
the Azerbaijani territories are occupied by Armenia," he added.

Haciyev said that the Minsk Group co-chairs should have called for the
withdrawal of Armenian troops of Azerbaijani soil and should have
urged the conflicting parties to continue talks to find a political
solution to the Karabakh conflict.

In their 18 May statement, the Minsk Group co-chairs criticised both
the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides for "significant violations of the
ceasefire" in mid-May. They said that "there are contradictory reports
regarding the targets of these recent strikes, as well as about
casualties sustained and damages inflicted". The co-chairs urged the
sides "to take all necessary measures to prevent any further
escalation in the conflict zone".