There was a revival in the negotiation process towards Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement in the second half of 2017, said Hikmat Hajiyev, spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.
He made the remarks at a press conference on the outcome of 2017 foreign policy in Baku.
“As a result of the efforts jointly made by Azerbaijan and the OSCE Minsk Group, it became possible to return Armenia to the negotiating table,” said Hajiyev. “Unfortunately, Armenia continues the occupation of Azerbaijani lands. The OSCE Minsk Group must fulfill duties assigned to them under the UN Security Council resolutions and the Helsinki Final Act.”
“The occupation of Azerbaijani lands must be ended, refuges and IDPs must return to their native lands,” he added.
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 includes Nagorno-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 December 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.