ST.PETERSBURG, June 20. /TASS/. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has expressed gratitude to Russian leader Vladimir Putin for his initiative to hold a trilateral meeting with the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents and for Moscow’s constructive role in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement.
According to Aliyev status quo in the situation with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict needs to be overcome but first Armenia’s forces have to be withdrawn from the region. "The conflict is lingering, and as Russia and other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group said a status quo is unacceptable. We fully support this statement," Aliyev said at the meeting with Putin in St. Petersburg.
"But for changing the status quo, there is the need to start de-occupation of Azerbaijan’s territory that has been occupied for more than 20 years," the Azerbaijani leader said.
He said at talks with Putin he plans to discuss the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh in detail. "We have hope that we will be able to give a constructive dynamics to the negotiating process that has been almost not held for the past two years," Aliyev said.
The situation along the contact line of conflicting sides in Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan, deteriorated dramatically overnight to April 2 when fierce clashes began. The parties to the conflict accused each other of violating the truce. At a meeting of chiefs of General Staff of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Moscow an agreement was reached on the ceasefire from noon local time (0800GMT) on April 5. Since then, the sides have reported ceasefire violations along the contact line.
The participants of talks on Nagorno-Karabakh in Vienna on May 16 involving the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia and mediated by the foreign ministers from the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries (Russia, the United States and France) agreed to observe ceasefire in the region in compliance with the 1994-1995 accords. The parties to the conflict also agreed to complete as soon as possible the work on an OSCE tool on investigating incidents on the contact line.