The recent visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to the U.S. was successful, the U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Robert Cekuta told The Voice of America.
“The point was also made by the Secretary and by the Vice President of welcoming and recognizing the steps that Azerbaijan has been taking and that we hope for further steps in this direction, this positive direction,” he noted.
The diplomat believes that this is a mile post.
“This is a sign of both countries working together, having made progress, looking for further progress, and looking to work together to move ahead, to deal with a number of issues that affect both our countries and have important regional implications,” Cekuta added.
Touching upon the decrease in oil prices, the ambassador noted that the U.S. can share its experience in this sphere.
Cekuta, speaking about the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, shared his ideas on what is needed for the conflict’s settlement.
“Right now, the important thing is that both sides scrupulously, strictly adhere to the ceasefire and work with the OSCE Minsk Group, with the co-chairs, to find a way forward to a comprehensive settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” he said adding that “what the Minsk Group is about, what the co-chairs are doing, is to try to facilitate that.”
On the night of April 2, 2016, all the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from the Armenian side, which used large-caliber weapons, mortars and grenade launchers. The armed clashes resulted in deaths and injuries among the Azerbaijani population. Azerbaijan responded with a counter-attack, which led to liberation of several strategic heights and settlements.
Military operations were stopped on the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian armies on Apr. 5 at 12:00 (UTC/GMT + 4 hours) with the consent of the sides, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry earlier said. Ignoring the agreement, the Armenian side again started violating the ceasefire.
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 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.