Return of Azerbaİjanİ refugees to theİr homes wİll enhance full-fledged İntra-regİonal cooperatİon – foreİgn mİnİster
APA. “Withdrawal of Armenian military forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and ensuring the return of the refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes will not only contribute to peace and security in the South Caucasus but also enhance full-fledged intra-regional cooperation”, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said at the Extraordinary Session of Council of Ministers of the ECO Member States, press service of the Foreign Ministry told APA.
According to him, without resolution of protracted conflicts and ensuring security and stability in the region, ECO will fail to reap the benefits from comprehensive regional cooperation: “Ongoing military occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia still remains a major source of instability and impediment to the economic development”.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in 1988.
A fierce war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the war, Armenian armed forces occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory which includesNagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts (Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam,Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan), and over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced people.
The military operations finally came to an end when Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in Bishkek in 1994.
Dealing with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the OSCEMinsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the CSCE (OSCE after the Budapest summit held in Dec.1994) Ministerial Council in Helsinki on 24 March 1992. The Group’s members include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belarus, Finland and Sweden.
Besides, the OSCE Minsk Group has a co-chairmanship institution, comprised of Russian, the US and French co-chairs, which began operating in 1996.
Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the UN Security Council, which were passed in short intervals in 1993, and other resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, PACE, OSCE, OIC, and other organizations require Armenia to unconditionally withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh.