By Vafa Ismayilova
The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group are ready to host a meeting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers, a joint statement by the mediators has said.
'The co-chairs regret that it was not possible to hold a joint meeting between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan under their auspices in Stockholm. They express their readiness to host such a meeting as soon as circumstances allow to continue discussions that begun in New York in September and in Paris in November,' the statement said.
On December 4, Baku said that a Stockholm meeting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers failed to take place due to Armenian MPs' illegal visit to Karabakh.
'A few hours before the meeting scheduled for December 3, a provocation was committed by Armenia. Information was disclosed about Armenian MPs' illegal visit to the territory of Azerbaijan. Thus, Azerbaijan didn't consider it expedient to hold a meeting of the two countries' ministers in Stockholm in response to this provocation,' Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Leyla Abdullayeva said on December 4.
She recalled that Stockholm hosted the 28th meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Ministers of the OSCE countries, which was also attended by Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov December 2 - 3.
'Before the meeting, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs made a proposal to hold the next meeting of the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Stockholm. Azerbaijan is a supporter of the dialogue. At previous meetings in New York, Minsk and Paris, the Azerbaijani foreign minister brought to the attention of the opposite side Azerbaijan's position on the issues of normalizing relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the post-conflict period. However, on December 3, a few hours before the scheduled meeting, a provocation was committed by Armenia. Information was spread about illegal visits by Armenian deputies to Azerbaijani territories,” she said.
'Therefore, Azerbaijan, in response to this provocation of Armenia, considered it inexpedient to hold a meeting of the foreign ministers,' Abdullayeva said.
It should be noted that on December 4, as a result of talks through the mediation of the Russian Defence Ministry Azerbaijan received from Armenian mine maps of all territories liberated in the 44-day war late last year.
Moreover, based on priinciples of humanism, Azerbaijan handed over 10 Armenian servicemen detained on November 16 during the state border escalation in the direction Kalbajar region.
Armenia deliberately and constantly planted mines on Azerbaijani territories, in violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention, thereby being a major threat to regional peace, security, and cooperation.
Since the 44-day second Karabakh war ended in November 2020, about 180 Azerbaijani citizens have been killed or seriously wounded by landmines. Out of the civilians, 49 have been wounded, and 24 sadly died.
On June 12, Azerbaijan handed over 15 Armenian prisoners in exchange for a map detailing the location of 97,000 mines in Aghdam.
On July 3, Armenia submitted to Azerbaijan maps of about 92,000 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines planted during the occupation of Fuzuli and Zangilan regions.
In his interview to CNN Turk channel on August 14, President Ilham Aliyev said that the accuracy of the maps provided by Armenia at the latest stage is only 25 percent.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a Russia-brokered peace agreement on November 10, 2020, to end 44 days of fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.
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