By Sara Rajabova
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have agreed with opinions that the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has lasted too long.
In their latest statement published on November 12, the co-chairs said the sides should undertake all measures necessary to expedite a peaceful settlement, OSCE website reported.
Armenia have occupied more than 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, having made territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor, which led to a lengthy war in the early 1990s.
Yerevan has also not yet implemented the UN Security Council's resolutions on its pullout from the neighboring country's territories. Moreover, peace talks mediated by Russia, France, and the United States through the OSCE Minsk Group and on the basis of the Madrid Principles have been largely fruitless.
The co-chairs also commented on the report and draft resolution currently under discussion in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
“We take note of the attention paid by PACE to a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. We share concerns, expressed in the resolution, regarding an increase of tensions along the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan and along the line of contact. We deeply regret the loss of lives, including civilians,” the statement reads.
PACE’s political affairs committee approved on November 4 a draft resolution for “the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces and other irregular armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the other occupied territories of Azerbaijan and the establishment of the full sovereignty of Azerbaijan in these territories," within the framework of the OSCE Minsk process.
“We are convinced that measures to reach a negotiated settlement should be based on mutual agreement between the sides as emphasized in the joint statements made by the presidents of France, Russia, and the United States, and supported by the international community,” the statement reads.
The co-chairs assured that they will continue to render assistance to the parties, taking into consideration their mandate, approved by the OSCE.
“Our task is to promote a peaceful resolution of the conflict and in particular to facilitate negotiations on a comprehensive settlement. We are neither judges nor advocates for particular positions,” the statement reads.
The co-chairs further said that there are proposals to create new negotiating formats and working groups on the settlement of the conflict.
“We believe that in the framework of the Minsk Group there is unique mediation experience. The Minsk Group format is accepted by the parties and has the full confidence of all OSCE participating States,” the statement said.
The Minsk Group co-chairs assure that considering the sensitivity of the negotiations, attempts to change the format or create parallel mechanisms can disrupt the negotiation process and impede progress towards a settlement. “At the same time, we are prepared to cooperate with all international organizations, which demonstrate an interest in finding a just and sustainable settlement to the conflict.”
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs James Warlick from the United States, Igor Popov from Russia and Pierre Andrieu from France addressed the OSCE Permanent Council on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Warlick tweeted on November 12.
Earlier, the co-chairmen held a meeting with Germany’s Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin to discuss the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the eve of Germany’s OSCE chairmanship.
The next meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council will be held in Belgrade, Serbia on Dec.3-4.
Moreover, during the Ministerial Meeting, the chairmanship in the organization will be handed over from Serbia to Germany.