YEREVAN, June 26, /ARKA/. Armenia’s Foreign Ministry slammed today Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov for making ‘destructive’ statements, saying also that this kind of approach is devaluating the seriousness of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.
A spokeswoman for the Armenian Foreign Ministry Anna Naghdalyan said Mammadyarov’s statements came after he and his Armenian opposite number Zohrab Mnatsakanyan met in Washington. Following the meeting Mammadyarov said that the situation along the line of contact should not be regarded as an obstacle to substantive negotiations on a political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
He also called for the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the regions surrounding the administrative borders of the former autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh and deployment of peacekeepers. Naghdalyan recalled that in Washington, the ministers discussed what could be done to stabilize the situation aggravated because of the Azerbaijani side. She said the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs called for immediate steps to restore the atmosphere conducive to establishing peace and preserving the cease-fire, and made clear proposals regarding humanitarian sphere and risk reduction.
“The disinformation of the Azerbaijani side on issues beyond these frameworks suggests that Azerbaijan does not intend to implement these proposals and the calls of the co-chairs. Moreover, the allegations that the negotiations can be successfully conducted under conditions of regular violation of the cease-fire regime cause significant damage to the peace efforts disrupting the peace process,” said Naghdalyan.
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.
On April 2, 2016, Azerbaijan launched military assaults along the entire perimeter of its contact line with Nagorno-Karabakh. Four days later a cease-fire was reached.