BAKU, October 4. /TASS/. Azerbaijan believes that the international community should analyze root causes of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the latest crisis before making calls for cessation of hostilities there, Deputy Foreign Minister Fariz Rzayev said on Saturday.
“The Azerbaijani side believes that first of all, root causes of the conflict should be considered, steps and measures that led to the escalation should be analyzed. Since the Minsk process was launched in 1992, since four UN Security Council resolution were adopted in 1993, the Azerbaijani side has been calling for immediate, full and unconditional compliance,” he said, answering to a question from TASS on whether Azerbaijan was ready to heed the Minsk Group’s call for cessation of hostilities without preconditions.
“Regretfully, the Azerbaijani side’s calls have not been heard during all these years. We keep believing that the root cause of the conflict, the reason behind the present-day escalation is the fact that 20% of the Republic of Azerbaijan’s territory within its internationally recognized borders remains under occupation,” Rzayev said.
The senior Azerbaijani diplomat told reporters that Baku was expecting neutrality and impartiality “from the co-chairs of the Minsk Group and all countries and organizations” who offered to act as mediators.
He also called upon the media to closely study all aspects of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, “first of all, political and legislative ones.”
Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and this past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians.
On October 1, Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Donald Trump of the United States and Emmanuel Macron of France in a joint statement called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to end hostilities and to resume talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict without preconditions.
The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs – Russia, France and the United States.