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Armenia Downplays Istanbul Declaration On Karabakh

Armenian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anna Naghdalian said the OSCE's Minsk Group "is the only format with an international mandate to help settle the conflict."

Armenia has downplayed the significance of a declaration referring to Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh adopted by the foreign ministers of Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan at a meeting in Istanbul earlier this week.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was one of the issues on the agenda of the meeting held on October 29.

The statement adopted at the end of talks between Mevlut Cavusoglu, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Elmar Mammadyarov called for a peaceful resolution of conflicts in the region "based on the principle of territorial integrity."

The three foreign ministers specifically highlighted the importance of resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in accordance with this principle.

Armenian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anna Naghdalian said on October 30 that "the OSCE's Minsk Group co-chairmanship is the only format with an international mandate to help settle the conflict."

"It is within this format that the principles of the conflict settlement are set forth as a whole. A selective treatment of those principles does not in any way contribute to the efforts towards a peaceful settlement," Naghdalian said.

"Statements made outside the framework of the Minsk Group co-chairmanship and contradicting it are artificial and have nothing to do with the settling of the problem," she added.

Nagorno-Karabakh, which is populated mainly by ethnic Armenians, declared independence from Azerbaijan amid a 1988-94 war that claimed an estimated 30,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Since 1994, it has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces that Baku says include troops supplied by Armenia.

The region's claim to independence has not been recognized by any country.

Internationally mediated negotiations involving the OSCE's Minsk Group helped forge a cease-fire in the region that is not always honored. However, the negotiations have failed to produce a lasting settlement of the conflict so far.