Azerbaijan, Armenia affirm commitment to solving dispute through talks


BAKU, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) — Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan expressed their commitment to solving the decades-old Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through negotiations, according to an official statement released on Saturday.

The two leaders had a brief conversation on the sidelines of a meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Commonwealth of Independent States in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, during which they also affirmed their commitment to reinforcing the 1994 cease-fire regime, the Azerbaijani president’s press service said in a statement.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a bitter dispute over the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh first broke out in 1988, when the region claimed independence from Azerbaijan to join Armenia.

Peace talks have been held since 1994 when a cease-fire was reached, but there have been occasional minor clashes in the past along the borders.

Aliyev and Pashinyan also agreed to develop mechanisms for establishing contacts between the two countries.

On Thursday, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and his Armenian counterpart Zohrab Mnatsakanyan discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

In a statement made following the meeting of the foreign ministers, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Minsk Group, which mediates the dispute, urged Azerbaijan and Armenia “to engage constructively in a positive atmosphere, and to avoid inflammatory rhetoric.”