Nagorno-Karabakh conflict deserves special attention: OSCE chairman

25 February 2014 17:13 (UTC+04:00)

By Sara Rajabova

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office considers that special attention should be paid to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict given the tension on the contact line between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops.

"As tensions rising lately with several violent incidents, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict deserves special attention," Didier Burkhalter, who is also head of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, said in his speech at the meeting of the UN Security Council in New York.

Burkhalter also noted that Swiss chairmanship will maintain and support the established format for conflict settlement, primarily the Minsk Group co-chaired by the U.S., Russia and France.

He voiced earlier concern over the deaths and injuries among military personnel and civilians on the contact line of Armenian and Azerbaijani troops.

Prior to his appointment as OSCE Chairman, Burkhalter voiced readiness to promote the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict emerged in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since a lengthy war in the early 1990s that displaced over one million Azerbaijanis, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions.

The UN Security Council's four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal have not been enforced to this day.

Peace talks, mediated by Russia, France and the U.S. through the OSCE Minsk Group, are underway on the basis of a peace outline proposed by the Minsk Group co-chairs, dubbed the Madrid Principles. The negotiations have been largely fruitless so far.