The Geneva meeting was an important signal showing that the sides to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are ready to re-engage in negotiations in good faith, Harry Kamian, the Chargé d’ Affaires, a.i., to the U.S. Mission to the OSCE said this at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting in Vienna on November 9.
“As a Co-Chair country, the United States reiterates our strong support for your [the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group] work and we appreciate your unwavering engagement with the sides to advance a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” Kamian said, reads a message posted by the U.S. Mission to the OSCE.
The U.S. diplomat further noted that the United States welcomes the joint statement by the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan following the October 16 summit organized by the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group in Geneva.
“This summit was an important signal showing that the sides are ready to re-engage in negotiations in good faith. We are pleased that the presidents agreed to take urgently needed measures to reduce tensions along the Line of Contact, and we encourage the sides to build on this positive momentum,” he added.
Kamian further reiterated calls for the sides to implement the measures agreed upon at the summits in Vienna and St. Petersburg in May and June 2016, respectively. “The sides agreed then to expand the monitoring by the Office of the Chairmanship’s Personal Representative, which can eventually be reflected in the 2018 OSCE budget. The United States also encourages the sides to work on the proposal to establish an OSCE investigative mechanism,” he noted.
Further stressing the importance of the OSCE monitoring mission assessment of the situation on the ground, he noted that even a small ceasefire violation could spiral quickly out of control.
The United States appreciates the close collaboration of the Austrian Chairmanship and the Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office in supporting the Co-Chairs’ mediation efforts and stabilizing the situation on the ground, he added.
“We also support confidence-building measures and increased dialogue between Armenians and Azerbaijanis that can help stabilize the security situation and create a more constructive atmosphere for negotiations,” Kamian said.
The U.S. diplomat stressed that this conflict has indeed gone on far too long, adding the status quo is unacceptable.
“At the same time, we all agree that there can be no military solution to the conflict. As a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the United States remains deeply committed to working with the sides to find a lasting and peaceful resolution to the conflict, one based on the principles shared by participating States of non-use of force, territorial integrity, and equal rights as embraced in the Helsinki Final Act,” he concluded.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.
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