An attempt to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by military means will reignite it, Bulgarian ex-President Zhelyu Zhelev told media in Baku today.
"I hope that the conflict will be resolved soon," he said. "Negotiations within the OSCE Minsk Group must continue. It is necessary to use the experience of other countries."
He said that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been on the international agenda for a long time.
"When I was the president, I negotiated with Azerbaijanis and Armenians and tried to convince them that the conflict can be resolved only peacefully, through negotiations.
"It is impossible to resolve the issue by using guns and violence," he said. "Even if it is resolved for some period, later it will break out with the same arguments and emotions. I do not know how soon it will be resolved, but the OSCE Minsk Group is necessary. It is essential to use the experience of other countries having similar conflicts."
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France and the U.S. - are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.