The lingering Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh has an impact on both countries, UK Foreign Office Permanent Under-Secretary Simon Fraser who is on visit to the Azerbaijani capital Baku has said.
"I know that this issue is very important for Azerbaijan," he told a briefing at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy on Thursday. "There is an international group for the conflict's settlement. It continues the process of settlement and I support the activity of this group."
The OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by France, Russia and the United States, has been working to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the Karabakh conflict, which emerged in 1988 and boiled into a brutal war in the early 1990s. A fragile ceasefire has been in place since 1994. Peace talks have been largely fruitless so far.
Fraser said the end result is connected with the will of both parties and stressed the need for the international community's support for the peace process.
Earlier, in the Armenian capital Yerevan, Fraser also stated that his country supports the settlement process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group.
Fraser deemed the negotiation process to be rather prolonged, but was not inclined to make any personal evaluations regarding the process.
According to him, it is important to achieve progress by means of negotiating.
Speaking about Armenia's claim on reopening an airport in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, Fraser said that he has not been informed about the Armenian government's plans for the Khojaly airport, but he knows that there is concern over it.
He told media that he had raised this issue during his talks in Yerevan.
Recently, "foreign minister" of the self-proclaimed "Nagorno Karabakh Republic" Karen Mirzoyan said that the airport in Khojaly will be opened in the near future, as soon as complete technical safety of the flights is provided.
However, Azerbaijani experts say that the Armenian claims over opening the airport in Nagorno-Karabakh are baseless.
Earlier, Armenian media also reported that the airport in Khojaly is to be commissioned in the near future.
The experts also say that though the Armenians explain the delay in commissioning the airport with technical issues, in fact, it is related to political reasons.
Foreign experts share this point of view, labeling the attempts to open the airport in Khojaly as the limit of impudence and political ignorance of the Armenian leadership.
Also, members of the parliaments of European countries, including the UK, France, Latvia, Slovakia, etc. have repeatedly said the issue of opening the airport in Khojaly is a provocation that would damage peace talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Commissioning of the airport is an open violation of the Convention on International Civil Aviation adopted on December 7, 1944 in Chicago, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said earlier.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and European Civil Aviation Conference support Azerbaijan's position on the issue. Document No.121 on airports of the ICAO cited the Khojaly airport as property of Azerbaijan.
International flights from the Khojaly airport, constructed in 1978, were prohibited after the occupation of territories by Armenia. The Khojaly airport, which has been registered in international organizations with the name UB13, is a facility with military purposes.