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Foreign troops not engaged in Azerbaijan’s military operations — diplomat

Azerbaijan shares the world’s concerns following reports about the engagement of combatants from the Middle East in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Rzayev said

BAKU, October 3. /TASS/. No foreign soldiers fight in Azerbaijan’s military operations, as the country has no need in them, Azerbaijan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Fariz Rzayev told TASS on Saturday.

"As far as the participation of any foreign specialists, representatives or forces in military operations among our ranks is concerned, it is not true. The Republic of Azerbaijan has no such need," he said when asked if Turkey provides practical military assistance to Baku.

Rzayev explained that Turkey’s support in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in general stems from the fraternal nature of ties between Ankara and Baku.

"Not only for historic or ethical reasons does Turkey back Azerbaijan’s stand, but because Azerbaijan’s stance is fair and based on international law. Azerbaijan’s stance relies on resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and decisions of the OSCE and other international organizations. Turkey’s position of support to Azerbaijan should be analyzed starting from these factors," he added.

Azerbaijan shares the world’s concerns following reports about the engagement of combatants from the Middle East in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Rzayev said.

"We share the deep concerns of international community, including the Russian Federation, concerning the information about the use of mercenaries, terrorists and militants from the Middle Eastern countries. Regrettably, the process was vigorously started by the Armenian side in the early 1990s, when the Armenian Armed Forces engaged actively those criminals in the process of aggression and occupation of our land," he emphasized.

The Azerbaijani diplomat went on to say that Azerbaijan appreciated the efforts taken by Russia to help resolve the Karabakh conflict, but international mediation should start from putting an end to the occupation of Azerbaijan’s sovereign land.

"We highly praise the efforts of the Russian Federation, as our close neighbor, as our strategic partner and as a permanent member of the [UN] Security Council and a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group. We believe that any international efforts aimed at finding an acceptable solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should start from one fundamental factor. They should start from the necessity of putting an end to the occupation of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan. That is the basis on which the Republic of Azerbaijan stays ready to participate in the settlement process with entire responsibility," Rzayev said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has voiced concern about reports that fighters from Syria and Libya had been redeployed to the conflict zone in Nagorno-Karabakh. French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that over 300 Syrian militants had been transferred through the Turkish city of Gaziantep to the conflict zone in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Earlier in the day, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that his country has information that around 150 high-ranking Turkish military officers are fighting for Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh. On Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a joint news conference with his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio that Azerbaijan had not asked Turkey for military assistance over the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, but Ankara was poised to provide support to Baku.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and this past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs - Russia, France and the United States.