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YEREVAN, July 31, /ITAR-TASS/. Armenia seeks peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict, President Serzh Sargsyan said on Wednesday, July 30.
“The conflict should be resolved by talks within the Minsk OSCE Group,” Sargsyan said.
“Over the 20 years the Minsk Group accumulated much experience. It put forth the principles that can provide the foundation for resolving the conflict,” he said.
“The solution should be found by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorny Karabakh. The Minsk Group is a mediator and it does it best within its powers,” Sargsyan said.
Armenia “emphasises the importance for the post of EU special envoy for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia [Herbert Salber]. We’re ready for constructive cooperation with him”, the president said.
Sargsyan expressed hope that Salber “will make contribution to strengthening relations between Armenia and the EU and do everything possible for strengthening peace and stability in the region”.
On July 7, Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliyev said, “The potential of talks has not been used yet.”
“We’ll seek to settle the conflict by peaceful means. Our economic, political and military potential is rather strong and it will play a positive role,” Aliyev said.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began on February 22, 1988. On November 29, 1989 direct rule in Nagorno-Karabakh was ended and Azerbaijan regained control of the region. However, later a joint session of the Armenian parliament and the top legislative body of Nagorno-Karabakh proclaimed the unification of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.
On December 10, 1991, Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh held a referendum, boycotted by local Azeris, that approved the creation of an independent state.
The struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh escalated after both Armenia and Azerbaijan obtained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. By the end of 1993, the conflict had caused thousands of casualties and created hundreds of thousands of refugees on both sides. An unofficial ceasefire was reached on May 12, 1994.
As of August, 2008, the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group were attempting to negotiate a full settlement of the conflict. On August 2, 2008, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan travelled to Moscow for talks with Dmitry Medvedev, who was Russian president at that time. As a result, the three presidents signed an agreement that calls for talks on a political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.