YEREVAN, September 3. /ARKA/. Armenia’s foreign ministry’s press secretary Anna Naghdalyan declined today comments regarding the possible date of the first meeting between Armenian foreign minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and his newly appointed Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov.
“As Foreign Minister Mnatsakanyan noted earlier, Armenia is ready to continue efforts for the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We took into account the statements of the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister regarding the desire to resume the peace process, which he made during his visit to Moscow,” she said at a press briefing today.
Naghdalyan said when an agreement is reached on the meeting, the public will be informed. At the same time, she noted that after the fierce fighting at a border section between Azerbaijan and Armenia on July 12, the Armenian side presented its approaches to a peaceful settlement of the conflict, comprising the refusal to use force, the cessation of hateful rhetoric and the strengthening of the ceasefire regime.
“According to our estimates, these approaches are also the priorities for the OSCE Minsk Group and its co-chairing countries,” Naghdalyan said.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict erupted into armed clashes after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s as the predominantly Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan sought to secede from Azerbaijan and declared its independence backed by a successful referendum.
On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the military operations. A truce was brokered by Russia in 1994, although no permanent peace agreement has been signed. Since then, Nagorno-Karabakh and several adjacent regions have been under the control of Armenian forces of Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh is the longest-running post-Soviet era conflict and has continued to simmer despite the relative peace of the past two decades, with snipers causing tens of deaths a year.
In the early hours of April 2, 2016 Azerbaijan, in gross violation of the agreements launched a large-scale offensive along the entire Line of Contact between the armed forces of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan, using heavy weaponry, artillery and combat aircraft. Only thanks to the decisive actions of the Defense Army, which gave a fitting rebuff, on April 5, Azerbaijan was forced to ask, as in 1994, through the mediation of the Russian Federation for the cessation of the hostilities. It has been generally maintained, despite the recurrent violations by the Azerbaijani side.