“No need for meaningless negotiations” in Nagorno-Karabakh, Aliyev says
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has stated that Baku expects concrete steps to be taken by the OSCE Minsk Group to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, calling the international mediators' role in the region “insignificant” and “meaningless.”
“We are showing patience and trying to be constructive. But today, in fact, there is no negotiation process taking places. Video conferences between the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan hold no significance. This simply makes the Minsk Group seem active. Well, is it? In order to be active one has to act,” Aliyev said in an interview with local TV channels on 6 July in Baku.
“I have said that we will not hold talks for the sake of them,” he said, adding “if the talks are substantive, then we will participate in them. Otherwise, there is no need for meaningless negotiations.”
Aliyev also underlined that Baku could resort to military option at any time, a statement that was accepted by many as a call to war.
“[A] very ominous statement,” Richard Kauzlarich, a former U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, called it on Twitter.
According to political commmentator Rauf Mirkadirov, however, it should not be taken seriously; similar rhetoric has been heard in the past as well.
“However, it is a warning addressed not only to a foreign but also a domestic audience,” Mirkadirov said in a call with Meydan TV adding, “The situation is politically and socially uncertain, including with foreign countries, especially Russia. Given such internal and external tensions, the aim of drawing attention to the Karabakh problem is used create an atmosphere of patriotism.”
The OSCE Minsk Group was set early 1990s to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which had erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan. As many as 30,000 people were killed in the war. Azerbaijan lost the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, as well as seven adjacent regions. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. Little progress has been made towards a lasting settlement for Nagorno-Karabakh since a ceasefire deal reached in 1994.
Tensions escalate from time to time, with skirmishes and casualties on both sides, particularly when the sides exchange provocative statements.
Late last month, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs held a digital meeting with the foreign ministers of both nations, urging them to avoid inflammatory speeches.
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