'Armenia's economic, military strength nothing compared to Azerbaijan's'

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Baku, 30 April 2016 –

Armenia’s economic and military strength is nothing compared to that of Azerbaijan, Prof. Nadir Devlet, an expert on international affairs at Istanbul Aydın University, told APA.

He said that the international community is aware of the fact that Azerbaijan is more powerful than Armenia.

"If Armenia loses the support from Russia, it will be able to continue the occupation of Azerbaijani lands,'' Devlet noted.

The expert recalled that in 1988, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh decided to join Armenia, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the independent Azerbaijan began fighting to restore its territorial integrity.

"Armenia first occupied the Shusha, Lachin, Kalbajar districts and then, the Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Zangilan and Gubadli districts which were beyond the administrative boundaries of Nagorno-Karabakh,'' said Devlet. "Then, the OSCE Minsk Group was entrusted with resolving the conflict by peaceful means. However, to date, the Minsk Group has failed to do anything for a just solution to the conflict.''

He stressed that the four UN Security Council resolutions demanding immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied Azerbaijani lands remain unfilled.

Russia wants the conflict to be unresolved and the preservation of the status quo serves the interests of several countries, according to the professor. "Do France and the US, where there is a strong Armenian diaspora, want the status quo to be changed?''

The expert noted that Azerbaijan and Turkey are brotherly countries. "Turkey stands for the liberation of Azerbaijan’s territories. It is repeatedly stated by Turkey’s president and other top officials.''

He went on to say that Armenia’s stance regarding the conflict shows the inability to resolve it through political means.

"Therefore, Azerbaijan should continue to build up its military power. All steps that Azerbaijan will take to liberate its occupied lands will be fair,” he added.

As for tensions in the relations between Turkey and Russia, the expert emphasized that it would be naive to expect normalization in the near future.

"I mean political relations. Trade relations between the two countries are normal. However, when it comes to political relations, I do not expect normalization at this stage,'' he concluded.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in 1988.

A fierce war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the war, Armenian armed forces occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory which includes Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts (Lachin, Kalbajar,Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan), and over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced people.

The military operations finally came to an end when Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in Bishkek in 1994.

Dealing with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the OSCE Minsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Helsinki on 24 March 1992. The Group’s members include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belarus, Finland and Sweden.

Besides, the OSCE Minsk Group has a co-chairmanship institution, comprised of Russian, US and French co-chairs, which began operating in 1996.

Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the UN Security Council, which were passed in short intervals in 1993, and other resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, PACE, OSCE, OIC, and other organizations require Armenia to unconditionally withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh.

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