Pakistan believes in restoring Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh: Qureshi


Shafaqna Pakistan: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday said that Pakistan believes in restoring Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The minister expressed these views during a phone call with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Jeyhun Bayramov. In a statement, the Foreign Office (FO) said that the two discussed bilateral relations and the ongoing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the breakaway region.

Nagorno-Karabakh, mainly inhabited by ethnic Armenians and backed by Yerevan, has been the scene of deadly clashes since September 27.

“The foreign minister expressed deep concern on the deteriorating security situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and expressed full solidarity with the brotherly nation of Azerbaijan and its people at this difficult time,” the statement said.

Qureshi also expressed concern over the “reprehensible targeting and killing of civilians by Armenian forces and hoped for a peaceful resolution to the crisis in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions”.

He also recognised Azerbaijan’s valuable support to Pakistan on the Kashmir issue at various international forums, including the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir. He briefed his counterpart on the grave human rights violations and other repressive actions being perpetrated by Indian occupation forces in occupied Jammu &Kashmir, the statement said.

Meanwhile, Bayramov appreciated Pakistan’s support to Azerbaijan and briefed Qureshi on the latest situation.

During the phone call, the two ministers expressed satisfaction at the state of bilateral relations and agreed to further strengthen cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including trade and economic, cultural and educational fields.

Qureshi also reiterated his invitation to Bayramov to visit Pakistan, the FO statement said.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan, on the occasion of Azerbaijan’s Independence Day, had paid tribute to “Azeri forces valiantly defending their territorial integrity”.

“Pakistan stands with Azerbaijan in its quest to resolve Nagorno-Karabakh issue as per UN Security Council resolutions,” he had said.

Decades-long conflict

The decades-long Nagorno-Karabakh conflict re-erupted on September 27 and has so far killed more than 700 people, including nearly 80 civilians.

The mountainous western region of Azerbaijan has remained under separatist Armenian control since a 1994 ceasefire ended a brutal war that killed 30,000.

Armenia, which backs Nagorno-Karabakh but does not recognise its independence, has admitted that Azerbaijani forces have made important gains along the front in the past week.

A ceasefire in territory of Nagorno-Karabakh was under severe strain on Tuesday after new clashes between Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces.

Officials in Nagorno-Karabakh reported new artillery battles on Tuesday morning and said fighting was particularly intense in southern areas of the conflict zone.

Azerbaijan’s defence ministry also reported fighting in several areas, including disputed territory close to the line of contact that divides the sides.

Dawn News