February 3, 2014 - 16:02 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Casualties and ceasefire violations on the line of contact and the border cause concern, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office said in his exclusive interview to Trend, the news agency reported.
Every casualty is a tragedy that can be avoided if the ceasefire is duly observed, Andrzej Kasprzyk stressed.
"Unfortunately, reports indicate that during the recent weeks the situation has grown more tense and the risk of an escalation should not be underestimated," Kasprzyk said.
"I and my team have experienced this recent growth in tensions first-hand during recent monitoring exercises, when shots were fired in spite of the fact that local commanders on both sides provided security guarantees to our teams with a clear undertaking that troops under their command would honor the ceasefire during the monitoring," Kasprzyk said.
The responsibility to observe the ceasefire rests with the sides, according to the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office.
"In Paris, the Co-chairs called on the conflicting sides to fully and unconditionally respect the terms of the ceasefire agreement, and stressed that the recent incidents undermine negotiations and diminish the prospects for peace. Representatives of Foreign Ministries of the three Co-chairing countries just recently issued statements calling for a strict observation of the ceasefire. Discussions about strengthening the ceasefire are continuing, and it will be a subject for talks during the trip of the Co-chairs to the region in the coming days," Kasprzyk said.
Kasprzyk stressed that the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter also expressed concern over recent reports of deaths and injuries among military personnel and civilians.
"Burkhalter strongly encouraged the sides to make full use of the valuable opportunity provided by visits by OSCE teams to the border and Line of Contact for direct communication with one another, with a view of reducing tensions," Kasprzyk said.
Touching upon the meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers in the French capital, Kasprzyk said that in Paris, the Ministers and the Co-Chairs discussed substantive issues to advance the peace process, building on the November 19 summit in Vienna, which was followed by the December 5 ministerial meeting in Kiev.
"The Ministers reiterated their willingness to continue working towards a peaceful, negotiated settlement. The Co-chairs will follow up on this during their upcoming trip to the region," Kasprzyk said, according to Trend News.
As expected, Kasprzyk fell short of mentioning the actual instigator of tensions at the line of contact.