YEREVAN, March 11. / ARKA /. Azerbaijani foreign minister Elmar Mammadyarov said today
that Azerbaijan was ready to sign Comprehensive Peace Agreement with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh arguing that it could happen if Armenia withdraws its armed forces from the ‘occupied territories of Azerbaijan.’
Mammadyaroav made the announcement during a meeting in Baku with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs from France, Russia and United States - Jacques Faure, Igor Popov and James Warlick and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk.
He recalled that the current status of the negotiation process around the settlement of the conflict was discussed at a Paris meeting.
The Karabakh conflict started in 1988 when the predominant Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh declared its secession from Azerbaijan. On December 10, 1991, a referendum was held in Nagorno-Karabakh where 99.89% voted for independence from Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan responded by large-scale military operations that led to loss of control not only over Nagorno-Karabakh , but also over seven adjoining areas. About 25-30 thousand people were killed and about a million had to leave their homes during the military operations.
A cease-fire agreement was signed on May 12, 1994 and has been observed since then. The ongoing Karabakh peace process started in 1992 under the auspices of OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by the USA, Russia and France. -0-