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BAKU, June 19. /TASS/. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said he hopes for a speedy resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the head of state’s website reported on Saturday.
Aliyev who was speaking at an Iftar ceremony to conclude the daily fasting during the month of Ramadan noted that a meeting on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement will take place in St. Petersburg next week (referring to a meeting of the Russian, Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents scheduled for June 20). "A meeting in Russia - in St. Petersburg - will take place next week. We hope that the issue can and should be resolved by peaceful means," the Azerbaijani president said.
According to Aliyev, "the time has come to take concrete steps" to deal with the conflict. "The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be resolved as soon as possible," he said, adding that Azerbaijan has no intention of conducting meaningless negotiations.
"If someone believes that we will continue senseless negotiations in the next 20 years, he is mistaken. Meaningful, substantive talks should begin immediately and unconditionally. In this case we can bring a peaceful solution to the issue nearer," the Azerbaijani president said.
The situation along the line of engagement of the conflicting parties in Nagorno-Karabakh deteriorated dramatically overnight to April 2. Following fierce armed clashes along the contact line, the parties to the conflict accused each other of violating the truce.
On April 5, Russia mediated a meeting between Colonel-General Najmeddin Sadykov, the chief of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces General Staff, and Colonel-General Yuri Khachaturov, the chief of the Armenian Armed Forces General Staff, that took place in Moscow. The sides agreed to cease the hostilities on the line disengaging the Azerbaijani and Armenian troops in Nagorno-Karabakh. The defense ministries of Azerbaijan and Armenia announced a ceasefire on the contact line as of 11:00 Moscow Time the same day. Ever since, the parties occasionally report brief exchanges of fire along the contact line.