BAKU, June 7. /TASS/. Azerbaijan is awaiting serious steps on the part of Armenia’s new leadership towards an earliest possible settlement of the conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, President Ilham Aliev said on Wednesday.
He said it during the dinner after the daytime fast [which the Moslems observe during the holy month of Ramadan - TASS] that was organized by the Chairman of the Religious Department of Caucasus Moslems, Sheik ul-Islam Allahsukur Pasazade.
"I hope Armenia’s new leadership won’t repeat the errors of the previous authorities, will do serious work for settling the Karabakh conflict at an earliest possible date and will give the go-ahead to a genuine process of negotiations, not an imitation of it," Aliev said. The text of his speech appeared at the President’s official website.
The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave region of Azerbaijan populated mostly by ethnic Armenians, was the first major inter-ethnic conflict that erupted in the former USSR in the last years of its history. It was sparked off in February 1988 when the then Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region declared secession from Azerbaijan.
In the course of an armed conflict of 1992 and 1993, Azerbaijan lost control over Karabakh and seven districts adjoining it. Talks on peaceful settlement of the conflict in the format of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe [co-chaired by Russia, the US and France] began in 1992.
Overnight to April 2, 2016, fierce armed clashes resurged in the region, after which the two sides accused each other of breaking the ceasefire. An agreement on a stopping armed operation along the line of contact separating the Karabakh and Azerbaijani forces was reached with Russia’s mediation on April 5, 2016.
Both Azerbaijan and Armenia have been reporting sporadic short exchanges of fire in Karabakh since then.
A statement that the Presidents of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan issued after a summit in St Petersburg on June 20, 2016, reaffirmed commitment to the course at normalizing the situation in and around Nagorno-Karabakh.