Istanbul, Oct 5 (efe-epa).- NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg on Monday ruled out a military solution to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
He spoke in Ankara alongside Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who said that the conflict will only end if Armenia withdraws from all occupied Azerbaijani territories.
Stoltenberg said at a press conference that a military solution to the clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the region is not possible.
“It is extremely important that we convey a very clear message to all parties that they should cease fighting immediately, that we should support all efforts to find a peaceful, negotiated solution,” he added.
Cavusoglu said the only solution to the conflict is for Armenia to withdraw its troops from the region.
“Azerbaijan is battling in its own lands, it is trying to take back its lands from terrorists and occupiers,” he added.
“Legally and morally, everyone should support Azerbaijan in that sense.
“Everyone, namely NATO, should call for the resolution of this problem under international laws, UN resolutions and Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, so by Armenia immediately withdrawing from this region.”
He denounced alleged attacks on civilians by Armenian forces, which he described as war crimes.
Cavusoglu said Azerbaijan has not requested assistance from Turkey but that his country would provide it if asked.
Stoltenberg described their meeting as “constructive and timely” and was due to meet later with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Fighting erupted over the disputed territory on 27 September and is the worst seen in the region since the 1990s when around 30,000 people were killed.
The latest clashes have prompted fears of a large-scale conflict in the Caucasus region, a Eurasian crossroads bordered by Turkey, Iran and Russia. Russia, the United States and France, co-chairs of the OSCE’s Minsk Group created to put an end to fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh in the 1990s, called for a ceasefire earlier in the week.
The disputed territory is considered to be a part of Azerbaijan but its population is majority ethnic Armenian.
It has been administered as a de facto republic by ethnic Armenians since 1994 following a brutal war that erupted after the collapse of the Soviet Union. EFE-EPA