BAKU, Azerbaijan, October 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Speaking at the Baku International Humanitarian Forum Thursday, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said it is time for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to be settled and that Armenia must follow the due resolutions of international organisations.
"Time for the conflict settlement has come," Aliyev said at the opening of the conference. "Armenia must follow the norms of international law, withdraw its troops from Azerbaijani lands, and then real peace and stability in the region will come."
He noted that Azerbaijan ranks first in the world in the number of refugees per capita and said that those who committed atrocities, like in Khojali in 1992 - where over 600 civilians were killed by Armenian armed forces - "have not yet faced the condemnation of the world community."
Nagorno-Karabakh has been a matter of tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan for the last 20 years, causing around 30.000 deaths so far. Peace talks by the OSCE's Minsk Group, led by the US, Russia and France, have achieved little progress in finding a peaceful solution.
Aliyev recalled the non-fulfilment of four resolutions by the UN Security Council alone, as well as other resolutions in the European Parliament, OSCE, Council of Europe and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
"Unfortunately, there is no mechanism of execution of these decisions," Aliyev said, adding that "the trust for them and belief in their execution is undermined in these conditions."
However, he stressed that any means to change the status quo has to be done peacefully. "Azerbaijan today is playing a stabilising role in the region and we do not want violation of stability," he said.
Founded by Aliyev and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Baku Humanitarian Forum is a global scientific and political platform discussing the challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Eleven Nobel laureates, more than a dozen former heads of state as well as high-profile figures from the fields of education, science and culture from 70 countries are attending the two-day forum.
"I do hope that sooner or later there will be a time when the resolutions of the UN Security Council will have real force," said the head of the World Stability Observatory, Luis Manuel Fraga, adding that stability in the Caucasus and Caspian region is key for world stability.
He praised the strength of the Azerbaijani government, which offers clear ideas about the future. "Every year I come and see that the country is progressing," Fraga said. "The poverty has been significantly reduced over the past 20 years."
Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) stressed the need for more mutual respect, respect for cultural diversity, respect for international law and protection of human dignity and human rights.
"The world is going through difficult times, lots of wars," he said. "We need wise people to work out how to save humanity from more disasters and catastrophes."
Former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said that in light of the frozen Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the "idea of reinforcing mutual respect is very encouraging."
He stressed the "very important role" Azerbaijan plays in the European Union's Eastern Partnership and noted the necessity to "strengthen further cooperation."
He also called on the European Union to speed up the process for a new visa regime, "allowing people from this country to move to Europe freely."
SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor