Azerbaijan’s Deputy Defense Minister: Russia's role in resolving Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is exceptional
Russia's mediating role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is crucial, the Azerbaijani Deputy Minister of Defense Kerim Veliyev said, speaking to a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, during a visit to Moscow.
"Russia is playing a very important role. Russia is the co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, so its role in resolving the conflict is exceptional," the Deputy Defense Minister stressed.
He also noted that we may expect real progress in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict only after the occupied Azerbaijani areas are liberated – this will make a political settlement of the conflict possible.
"Prospects for the settlement will become real only if the Armenian armed forces withdraw from our territory. After that all issues will be resolved diplomatically," Kerim Veliyev expressed confidence.
On the night of April 2 all Azerbaijan’s border line positions were subject to heavy fire from large-caliber artillery, mortars, grenade launchers and guns. In addition, densely populated Azerbaijani settlements near the front line, were also shelled.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20% of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US, are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.