ISLAMABAD: A day after Armenia and Azerbaijan once again accused each other of launching fresh attacks in the conflict over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Islamabad on Tuesday assured Baku of its support in restoring the status quo ante.
In a telephonic conversation with his Azerbaijan counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan believes in restoring Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over the disputed region.
According to a Foreign Office (FO) statement, the two foreign ministers discussed bilateral relations and the ongoing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Nagorno-Karabakh, mainly inhabited by ethnic Armenians and backed by Yerevan, has been the scene of deadly clashes since September 27. The latest clash comes hours after a three-week halt to fighting was supposed to have come into force at midnight Sunday.
It was the second attempt at a truce after an earlier deal brokered by Moscow fell apart last week. But Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said Armenian forces had shelled its Goranboy, Terter, Aghjabedi and Aghdam districts overnight.
“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 FO 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 dispute 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 the occupied region, 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.