BAKU

Azerbaijan’s president on Saturday said the Minsk group of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has not yet played any role in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict which recently escalated after Armenian forces launched attacks on Azerbaijani civilians and security personnel.

Ilham Aliyev’s remarks came amid an OSCE Minsk group meeting held in the capital Baku with the participation of the group’s co-chairs France’s Stephane Visconti and Andrew Schofer from the US, along with Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk.

Aliyev said the status-quo in the region has changed and the Azerbaijani leadership resolved the decades-long conflict through force and diplomatic means.

Although the Minsk group of the OSCE produced ideas in an effort to resolve the dispute, these did not bear any fruit, according to the president.

Azerbaijan solved this problem on its own, Aliyev also said, adding that his country managed to beat Armenia on the battlefield.

The president further noted that Baku does not have any problem with the Armenian population living in the region, stressing that their living standards will rise under the Azerbaijani rule.

Karabakh conflict

Relations between the former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

When new clashes erupted on Sept. 27, the Armenian army launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces and violated several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.

During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from the Armenian occupation.

The two countries signed a Russian-brokered agreement on Nov. 10 to end fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.

The truce is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia, whose armed forces have been withdrawing in line with the agreement.

* Writing by Ali Murat Alhas in Ankara.

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