OSCE CiO: peace should never be taken for granted

OSCE CiO: peace should never be taken for granted

PanARMENIAN.Net - Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter pledged to seize the opportunities offered by the OSCE as he outlined priorities for the Swiss Chairmanship of the Organization at the first Permanent Council in Vienna.

Burkhalter called on representatives of the OSCE’s 57 participating States to draw from the lessons of the First World War: “Peace should never be taken for granted. We must not become complacent about peace but rather construct and secure it through constant dialogue, confidence-building and collective efforts to boost mutual understanding.”

“2014 should be the year for reconciliation in the Western Balkans, with the OSCE advancing regional cooperation and playing a supporting role in the implementation of the Belgrade-Pristina agreement, he said. Protracted conflicts in the South Caucasus, including the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, the consequences of August 2008 conflict in Georgia, and the Transdniestrian settlement process were also high on the agenda,” Burkhalter said. “We are well aware that progress may not come overnight, and that no settlement will be feasible unless the parties are committed. However, we firmly believe that it is not an option to simply wait and see,” he added.

Incidents on the contact line between the Armenian and Azerbaijani armed forces remain a matter of concern, Burkhalter said.

He added, however, that high-level contacts have intensified after the meeting of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Vienna.

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The conflict between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan

The conflict between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan broke out as result of the ethnic cleansing launched by the Azeri authorities in the final years of the Soviet Union. The Karabakh War was fought from 1991 (when the Nagorno Karabakh Republic was proclaimed) to 1994 (when a ceasefire was sealed by Armenia, NKR and Azerbaijan). Most of Nagorno Karabakh and a security zone consisting of 7 regions are now under control of NKR defense army. Armenia and Azerbaijan are holding peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group up till now.

The OSCE Minsk Group

The OSCE Minsk Group was created in 1992 to encourage a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. The Minsk Group is headed by a Co-Chairmanship consisting of France, Russia and the United States. The main objectives of the Minsk Process are as follows: Providing an appropriate framework for conflict resolution in the way of assuring the negotiation process supported by the Minsk Group; Obtaining conclusion by the Parties of an agreement on the cessation of the armed conflict in order to permit the convening of the Minsk Conference; Promoting the peace process by deploying OSCE multinational peacekeeping forces.

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