Could Germany accelerate Karabakh conflict solution?

14 January 2016 18:33 (UTC+04:00)

By Sara Rajabova

Germany has vowed to participate in settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as OSCE chairman.

As it took over the rotating OSCE Chairmanship in 2016, Germany has revealed its top priorities, announced by Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The German chairmanship voiced commitment to working towards solving the protracted conflicts in the OSCE region, including the long-standing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is source of threat for security in the South Caucasus region.

Steinmeier asserted that his country will make the best use of the OSCE’s current negotiating formats and mechanisms in resolving the conflicts.

Despite the long-lasting efforts, no tangible result has been achieved towards the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which emerged in 1988 over Armenia’s territorial illegal claims against Azerbaijan.

As the conflict’s resolution is lingering, such a situation forces the parties that is interested in the soonest settling of the problem to seek new ways to end the lasting stalemate in the negotiation process.

Earlier, Azerbaijani officials voiced the possibility of using potential of European Institutions and Germany in conflict resolution.

Some officials and experts even put forward an initiative to include Germany and Turkey in the OSCE Minsk Group as co-chairs.

Last year, Germany also voiced an interest in playing an active role in resolving the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Therefore, Germany’s involvement in the peace talks raised hope for some positive developments in the conflict resolution.

Steinmeier’s vows on Germany’s participation in settlement process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict refer to this country’s chairmanship of the OSCE.

Azerbaijani MP Aydin Mirzazade believes that Germany will attach an attention to the conflict only during its six-month chairmanship period.

“Germany as a rule does not tend to take part in resolution of the conflicts. Despite the fact that Germany is a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, but it has never put forward its own particular positions for solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Moreover, it is unlikely that he will be one of the co-chairs,” Mirzazade told AzerNews in a phone conversation.

The MP noted that during their short period in OSCE chairmanship, the foreign ministers of all countries voice such an opinion, but unfortunately, no concrete progress was observed in this issue.

He also added that there is no alternative to change the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.

“Because, there are a few countries able to change the situation in South Caucasus, of which three are the U.S., France and Russia. They were elected as co-chairs mainly for their opportunity to influence. Though Azerbaijan has not been satisfied with their activity, in any case they demonstrate some diplomatic activity,” Mirzazade said.

He further added that Turkey’s being as one of the co-chairs would have a serious impact on the conflict solution, however, the consent of parties to the conflict – both Azerbaijan and Armenia- is required over this issue. He said Armenia doesn’t let Turkey to be the co-chair.

Mirzazade went on to say that currently the countries are focused on financial crisis and the fall in the global oil prices. However, the MP added that delay in the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict seriously hampers the solution of some issues.

The MP stressed that nonetheless, if Germany pays attention to this issue during its six-month chairmanship period, then this fact itself should be assessed positively.

The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen held a meeting in Berlin to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the eve of Germany’s OSCE chairmanship.

The Minsk Group, the activities of which have become known as the Minsk Process, spearheads the OSCE's efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

In 1994, the OSCE Budapest Summit established the so-called Minsk Group, which 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. The group’s permanent members are Belarus, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, and Turkey, as well as Armenia and Azerbaijan. On a rotating basis, also the OSCE troika is a permanent member.

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Sara Rajabova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @SaraRajabova

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