By Rashid Shirinov
A statement of the new OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, that Italy will try to intensify the dialogue between the OSCE member states during its OSCE chairmanship indicates Italy's interst in the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
A political scientist Ilshat Aydarov made the remarks in his interview with Day.Az on March 11.
During his recent speech at the UN Security Council meeting in New York, Alfano noted that OSCE will continue to support the work of the Minsk Group co-chairs for the final settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Aydarov said that the statement of the Italian diplomat shows that this year the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs will make much more efforts in the negotiation process than in previous years.
“I think that Italy can render proper assistance in the Karabakh settlement through the current mandate of the country presiding in an authoritative international organization,” the expert said, noting that Italy’s initiative in this matter is important at this stage, when there is a certain activity of the Minsk Group co-chairs.
The Minsk Group spearheads the OSCE's efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It is co-chaired by France, the Russian Federation, and the United States. Although the OSCE Minsk Group deals with the issue for over two decades, its activities have brought no breakthrough results so far.
Aydarov mentioned that over the years, the OSCE Minsk Group has not taken any real steps towards resolving the conflict through negotiations, but recently there has been some activity in the negotiation process. He suggested that there are certain prerequisites for the problem to move off dead center in foreseeable future.
The political scientist further noted that it is quite logical that Azerbaijan expects the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs to take practical steps to settle the long-standing problem, especially during the chairmanship of Italy, with which Azerbaijan has good relations.
“There are reliable partnership relations between Azerbaijan and Italy, which were facilitated by trust-based political dialogue and economic cooperation. This fact gives grounds for Baku to expect more concrete steps and actions from Italy towards the Karabakh settlement,” Aydarov said.
Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a lengthy war that ended with signing of a fragile ceasefire in 1994. Since the war, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.
While the OSCE Minsk Group acted as the only mediator in resolution of the conflict, the occupation of the territory of the sovereign state with its internationally recognized boundaries has been left out of due attention of the international community for years.
Until now, Armenia ignores four UN Security Council resolutions on immediate withdrawal from the occupied territory of Azerbaijan, thus keeping tension high in the region.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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