BAKU: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday that the surrender of weapons by the Armenian forces is a condition for the end of Baku’s anti-terrorist operation in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, reported Sputnik.
Earlier on Tuesday, the US State Department said that Blinken held a phone conversation with Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to discuss the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Aliyev said that the presidential administration had repeatedly invited representatives of the Armenian population living in the Nagorno-Karabakh region to a dialogue, but they had refused; nevertheless, they were once again invited to a dialogue during anti-terrorist measures of local character. Aliyev said that anti-terrorist measures would end if weapons are laid down, and Armenia’s forces are disarmed,“ the office of the Azerbaijani president said in a statement on the website.
The office added that Azerbaijan’s president told Blinken that Baku had to launch the operation in the region to prevent Armenia’s new provocations in Nagorno-Karabakh. He emphasised that only “legitimate military targets” are being targeted in the operation, adding that civilians and infrastructure are not being shelled.
Blinken, for his part, expressed concerns about the situation in the region, called for a ceasefire, and told the Azerbaijani president that the United States supports direct negotiations between Baku and Armenians living in the disputed region.-Bernama