Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the 25th anniversary of the establishment of cease-fire between Armenia and Azerbaijan
The cease-fire in the conflict zone is explicitly connected with the cessation of all military activities, withdrawal of occupying forces, deployment of international observers, restoration of communications, return of displaced population and intensification of negotiation process for final settlement of the conflict. It means that cease-fire aims the set of measures to be implemented serving the above-mentioned goals. With other words, cease-fire does not only mean ending the exchange of fire, but also the attempts of consolidating the occupation of territories, entrenching and building-up military positions, transferring military equipment and hardware, conducting large-scale military exercises, denying the return of IDP’s to their homelands.
During last 25 years since the establishment of cease-fire the occupation of the one fifth of the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan resulted in the ethnic cleansing of the Azerbaijanis historically living in these territories still continue. The armed forces of Armenia continue their illegal presence in the Azerbaijani territories. The demands of the international community, including the resolutions of the UN Security Council, the main body responsible for international security, are rejected by Armenia. As it has been stated by international community, as well as the leaders of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair states, status-quo established as a result of the occupation of the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan, is unsustainable and unacceptable.
Cease-fire also affirms the intensification of the negotiations for cessation of the armed conflict. It is clear that cease-fire is not the settlement of the conflict; it creates necessary conditions for urgent measures to be implemented on the way to the conflict settlement. However, throughout all these years, Armenia has consistently refused to engage in results oriented substantial negotiations on the conflict settlement and ignored the demands of international community to withdraw its occupying forces immediately, completely and unconditionally from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
Armenia must drop its futile attempts to mislead its own people and wider international community, cease its policy of annexation and ethnic cleansing, comply with its international obligations and engage constructively in the soonest conflict settlement process.
Ensuring the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of international borders of Azerbaijan, allowing the return of the forcibly expelled Azerbaijani population to the places of their permanent residence and promoting peaceful coexistence of Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh region within the Republic of Azerbaijan will lay a solid foundation for restoring good neighborly relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and bringing peace, security and cooperation in the region.