“During the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Baku, the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was in the spotlight,” reads the appeal. “The Russian foreign minister emphasized the importance of resuming direct contacts between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region. Lavrov also emphasized the importance of a joint choice of how the population of Nagorno-Karabakh will live in the future.”
“The word “population” in this statement by Lavrov is consistent with the spirit of statements by the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh,” the appeal said. “It has been repeatedly indicated in previous statements of the community that we support the restoration of joint peaceful coexistence with the Armenian community in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, after the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories, the return of Azerbaijani IDPs to their lands and restoration of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized borders.”
“Until Azerbaijanis, the historical inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh, return to their lands, there can be no talk of any development of the region,” reads the appeal. “Our goal is to return to our homes, restore the destroyed historical, cultural, religious heritage and once again ensure peaceful, happy life of people in Nagorno-Karabakh. Only in this case can restoration of fair and sustainable peace be possible in the region.”
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding districts.