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Some hope of end to stalemate over Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan tells UN

Some hope of end to stalemate over Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan tells UN

Elmar Maharram oglu Mammadyarov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan
Hopes are rising for a potential end to the years of deadlock in the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is part of Azerbaijan’s territory but is occupied by Armenian forces, Azerbaijan has told the General Assembly’s high-level debate.

Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov told the debate yesterday that “the current settlement process gives some hopes for breaking the stalemate,” which has existed since the end of open warfare in 1994.

In an address to the Assembly meeting, taking place at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Mammadyarov said Azerbaijan was ready to continue talks with the leadership of neighbouring Armenia to try to achieve a “secure and stable South Caucasus region and beyond.”

He added: “The acceptance by Armenia of the step-by-step approach to the settlement of the conflict on the basis of the principles and norms of international law and the decisions and documents adopted in this framework as reflected in the Joint Declaration signed in Moscow in November 2008 by the Presidents of Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Russian Federation is a positive sign.”

Mr. Mammadyarov said the first steps that need to be taken include the withdrawal of Armenian forces, the rehabilitation of the affected territories, the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their homes, and the opening of all communications.

“This will allow removing the consequences of the conflict and will pave the way for the establishment of durable peace and stability in the region conducive to the elaboration of the legal status of the Nagorno-Karabakh region within Azerbaijan with due account of the equally heard voices of the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of the region.”

Last year the General Assembly adopted a resolution on Nagorno-Karabakh calling for the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces from “all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.”

The text reaffirmed “the inalienable right of the population expelled from the occupied territories” to return to their homes, and to achieve that it called for the comprehensive rehabilitation of all conflict-affected territory.

No State should recognize as lawful the current situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, nor provide aid or assistance to maintain that situation, according to the text, which also called for “normal, secure and equal conditions of life for Armenian and Azerbaijani communities in the Nagorno-Karabakh region” so that “an effective democratic system of self-governance” can be built up.

In addition, the resolution voiced support for international mediation efforts to the dispute, particularly the work of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group Co-Chairmen.