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**NEWS**

CONTACT GROUP MEETING ON THE AGGRESSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA AGAINST THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN - 2017-09-19

1. The OIC Contact Group on the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan met on 19 September 2017 at the Ministerial level on the sidelines of the Annual Coordination Meeting in New York. The meeting was attended by the delegations of the Republic of Djibouti, the Islamic Republic of Gambia, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Turkey, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Malaysia and the Republic of Azerbaijan.

2. The meeting was opened by H.E. Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen, the OIC Secretary General, who reconfirmed the principled position of the OIC based on its condemnation of the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan and its demand for immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the armed forces of the Republic of Armenia from the Nagorno-Karabakh region and other occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan. He reiterated that all OIC Member States considered the continued occupation by Armenia of a significant part of the territories of Azerbaijan illegal and unacceptable. He expressed the hope that solidarity of the OIC Member States with the just position of Azerbaijan and their support for its sovereignty and territorial integrity would be translated into practical and effective measures in order to bring the aggressor in compliance with the norms and principles of international law and the OIC decisions (based on agreed language from the Group’s 2016 report). The Secretary General further reiterated that the OIC has consistently called for the resolution of the conflict on the basis of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the internationally recognized borders of the Republic of Azerbaijan and also regretted that there has been no progress towards that end.

3. Foreign Minister Mammadyarov of Azerbaijan cordially thanked the Members of the Group for their continued support for the just position of Azerbaijan and briefed them on the latest developments with regard to the peaceful settlement of the conflict. Recalling the four resolutions of the UN Security Council, namely 822 (1993), 853 (1993), 874 (1993), 884 (1993), which reaffirmed respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and the inviolability of its internationally recognized borders and demanded the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces from all the occupied territories, Minister Mammadyarov stressed that these resolutions are yet to be implemented, and that they still remain valid and binding.

He emphasized that the mediation efforts carried out within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, unfortunately have still not yielded results. Minister Mammadyarov emphasized that despite the establishment of a ceasefire, attacks on the towns and villages in Azerbaijan situated along the front line of the armed forces of Armenia and Azerbaijan and the border between the two States have become more frequent and violent in recent times, resulting in the killing and wounding of Azerbaijani servicemen and civilians.

The Minister also expressed gratitude to all Members of the OIC for supporting the resolution “On Solidarity with the Victims of the Khojaly Massacre of 1992” adopted during the 44th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Abidjan and invited the OIC Member States to exert due efforts for recognition of the crimes perpetrated in the town of Khojaly and other occupied territories of Azerbaijan as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide at the national and international levels.

4. The other members of the Contact Group also took the floor and reiterated the importance of the Contact Group in finding new ways and means to help peaceful resolution of the conflict. They also reiterated their unwavering support for the resolution of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan within the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the internationally recognized borders of the Republic of Azerbaijan and called for immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the armed forces of the Republic of Armenia from the Nagorno-Karabakh region and other occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan in accordance with the aforementioned resolutions of the UN Security Council. The meeting condemned in the strongest terms continued violation of ceasefire by the Republic of Armenia and the attacks carried out by its armed forces against the civilian population of Azerbaijan causing human losses and injuries. The meeting supported Azerbaijan’s efforts aimed at defeating those attacks and defending its population.

5. The meeting acknowledged that the work of the OIC Contact Group on the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan and its effective functioning are of great importance, given the urgent need for more concerted efforts of the Islamic Ummah to force Armenia to comply with its international obligations. They also reiterated the persistent calls of the OIC to its Member States and the international community to use effective political and economic measures in order to put an end to the Armenian aggression and occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan.

6. The Meeting further called on the Member States to collectively act to put the conflict at the top of the international agenda in order to find a negotiated settlement. The members of the Contact Group expressed their hope that the deliberations within the Contact Group would contribute to the implementation of the OIC documents on the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan and will help harmonize the individual and joint efforts of the OIC Member States towards this end. The participants reiterated the need for preparing a road-map to guide the activities of the Contact Group.

7. At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that in order to make the best use of the Contact Group as an important platform, necessary elements for a road map for the future work of the Group be submitted by the members of the Group for further consideration at its next meeting.

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