Maintaining security and stability is a crucial component in building successful society and regional cooperation, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said.
Mammadyarov made the remarks at the Extraordinary Session of Council of Ministers of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) member-states in New York.
“Regrettably, since our last meeting, stability and security in our region became even more fragile, new conflict hotbeds emerged and prospects of the region’s development were seriously compromised,” he said.
“Armenia continues its occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territories, thus undermining the regional security and stability, as well as impedes full-fledged regional cooperation,” Mammadyarov said.
“Armenia went even further in its aggression policy now trying to associate other countries with the illegal occupation through attracting businesses, trade and investments in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan,” he added.
“It is very important for our cooperation that all countries must be aware of such intentions of Armenia and reject any type of social, economic and cultural involvement in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan,” Mammadyarov said.
“Withdrawal of Armenian military forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and ensuring the return of the refugees and internally displaced people to their houses not only will contribute to peace and security in the South Caucasus but also enhance full-fledged intra-regional cooperation,” the minister added.
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.
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