February 23, 2021 - 13:11 AMT
Occupation of Karabakh territories no settlement of conflict, says Armenia

Armenia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Ara Aivazian has said that the occupation of a part of the territories of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) cannot be considered a settlement of the conflict.

During a meeting of the parliament's Standing Committee on Regional and Eurasian Integration on Tuesday, February 23, Aivazian noted that the unresolved conflict remains a key regional challenge, and that only a negotiated political settlement will be bring an end to it.

He noted that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship is the only internationally recognized format for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which the Armenian side continues to support.

The Foreign Minister added that the Armenian side is committed to the resumption of the settlement process, but an environment conducive to peace must be created first, which he said has not been contributed to by Azerbaijan. "This is evidenced by Azerbaijan's failure to comply with the humanitarian side of the November 10 agreement, namely, the repatriation of the captives," Aivazian said.

Several dozen Armenian POWs returned from Azerbaijan in mid-December, although Armenian officials said many more people were being held in Baku. Dozens of others, both servicemen and civilians, have been captured after the completion of military hostilities. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said in one of his speeches that the newly detained persons are not prisoners of war but “terrorists”. Human rights lawyer Siranush Sahakyan has said, meanwhile, that at least 120 Armenian prisoners of war are being held in Azerbaijan. Sahakyan represents the rights of some of the Karabakh POWs before the European Court of Human Rights. The lawyer said there is enough evidence proving the capture of said persons, which the Armenian side will submit to international agencies and courts.