OSCE monitoring to be expanded in Karabakh conflict zone
The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group have announced the results of the negotiations held yesterday in Krakow by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The announcement states:
“The Ministers and the Co-Chairs discussed next steps for facilitating realization of the agreements reached at previous summits dedicated to the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. The Foreign Ministers agreed in principle to the Co-Chairs’ revised concept paper for implementing the expansion of the Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office with a view toward finalizing it as soon as possible.
“During the meetings, the parties and Co-Chairs exchanged views on core sensitive issues contained in the working proposals currently on the table. The Co-Chairs also called for pursuing trust-building measures as an important contribution to the negotiation process. The Ministers and the Co-Chairs acknowledged the relative calm on the Line of Contact, and the Co-Chairs urged the parties to reinforce this positive trend.”
Information from Yerevan
Local media says that the parties continued discussions which had begun in December concerning the implementation of agreements reached by the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Vienna, St Petersburg and Geneva. In particular, the Armenian side insisted on implementing a suggestion put forward by the co-chairs that would provide mechanisms for investigating incidents in the wake of the April 2016 fighting. This idea was voiced in Vienna in May 2016 but has still not been implemented.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Edvard Nalbandyan called on the Azerbaijani side to observe the ceasefire agreement and to fulfill agreements reached earlier. Nalbandyan said that ‘confirmation of adherence’ to the ‘principles of conflict settlement’ which have been put forward by the co-chairs would contribute to the advancement of the negotiation process.
Naira Ayrumyan, a political commentator from the Lragir publication told JAMnews that:
“I would like to direct attention to a part of the statement made by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group which touches on the possible renewal of an option to regulate the Karabakh conflict: ‘The chairs expressed their interest in the possibility of continuing the OSCE assessment mission which was last in the affected zone in 2010’.
“Then they spoke about the speedy regulation of the conflict and the release of Karabakh regions to Azerbaijan. A reconnaissance group arrived in Karabakh, took measurements and tried to draw lines where the new border should be along with the corresponding peace-keepers. They did everything, but their work was in vain. What will the assessment mission do if they are able to coordinate a visit to the region? Will the fixation of the current borders and the status quo be included in its mission?
“The head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, Elmer Mammadyarov, stated at the 24th meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Member Countries of the OSCE: “Specific forces in the region are trying to maintain the unstable status-quo. Yerevan is continuing to undertake illegal actions with the aim of changing the demographic, cultural and physical picture of the occupied Azerbaijani territories; it continues a policy of strengthening its military occupation and the creation of a ‘fait accompli’ situation.””
Information from Baku
The reaction in Azerbaijan to the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs was rather moderate.
“Nobody had any special hopes for this meeting. This meeting was needed by Kasprzyk, who was given additional credentials. He wanted to expand the authority of his office and he got to hang-out together in his office in Krakow. The negotiation process has long turned into a parody of itself. The sides have been discussing the so-called ‘Madrid Principles’ for more than ten years, and the situation has remained the same. Not one of the sides are ready to make even the smallest of compromises, but at the same time it is also not advisable for either side to announce that they are withdrawing from the negotiation process.
“Personally, I believe that the current leaders of both countries do not have enough political will to move the process forward. That’s because there is no indication of a change in power in the near future, despite presidential elections in both countries. Such meetings for the sake of meetings will continue. But in any case, there is an undoubtedly positive aspect to all of this: while the negotiation process continues (or is imitated, at least) the likelihood of another escalation in military activity is lowered,” political commentator Shahin Rzaev believes.
Toponyms and terminology used in the article, and views, opinions and strategies expressed in it do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of JAMnews or any employees thereof. JAMnews reserves the right to delete comments it considers to be offensive, inflammatory, threatening, or otherwise unacceptable.