Karabakh to OSCE MG Co-Chair: Return to the past out of question

Karabakh to OSCE MG Co-Chair: Return to the past out of question

PanARMENIAN.Net - Independence and security of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic are absolute values not subject to any bargaining, NKR foreign ministry said in a statement issued in response to the May 7 speech of the OSCE Minsk Group U.S. Co-Chair James Warlick.

“The stance of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic in the peace process remains unchanged. Any return to the past is out of question, with the future of the republic determined through a free and legitimate expression of will at the 1991 referendum,” the statement said.

“The OSCE Minsk Group’s efforts should focus on the development of settlement mechanisms stemming from current realities and provide conditions for peaceful coexistence of two independent states - the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan – emerged as a result of the collapse of the USSR and the war unleashed by Azerbaijan,” the statement concluded.

U.S. Co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group named ‘six elements’ for the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

In his statement, delivered at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, amb. James Warlick said that “there are six elements that will have to be part of any peace agreement if it is to endure. While the sequencing and details of these elements remains the subject of negotiations, they must be seen as an integrated whole. Any attempt to select some elements over others will make it impossible to achieve a balanced solution.”

“First, in light of Nagorno-Karabakh’s complex history, the sides should commit to determining its final legal status through a mutually agreed and legally binding expression of will in the future. This is not optional. Interim status will be temporary,” the U.S. diplomat said.

“Second, the area within the boundaries of the former Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Region that is not controlled by Baku should be granted an interim status that, at a minimum, provides guarantees for security and self-governance.”

The third element, according to the U.S. Co-chair is that “the occupied territories surrounding Nagorno Karabakh should be returned to Azerbaijani control. There can be no settlement without respect for Azerbaijan’s sovereignty, and the recognition that its sovereignty over these territories must be restored.”

“Fourth, there should be a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno Karabakh. It must be wide enough to provide secure passage, but it cannot encompass the whole of Lachin district,” Warlick said.

“Fifth, an enduring settlement will have to recognize the right of all IDPs and refugees to return to their former places of residence. Sixth and finally, a settlement must include international security guarantees that would include a peacekeeping operation. There is no scenario in which peace can be assured without a well-designed peacekeeping operation that enjoys the confidence of all sides,” he said.

According to him, the co-chairs of the Minsk Group share a common interest in helping the sides reach a peaceful resolution.

“We intend to continue working through the Minsk Group as the primary channel for resolving this conflict. Together with France, the United States and Russia share a common commitment to peace and security in Nagorno Karabakh. The United States stands ready to help in any way we can. I would also call on the diaspora communities in the United States and around the world to speak out for peace and to help bring an end to this conflict,” the diplomat said.

Meanwhile, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) slammed the statement as “morally acceptable nor practically sustainable.”

“While we do welcome the renewed focus on the centrality of status, at a fundamental level, this plan falls far short of our American ideal of democratic self-determination, the enduring principle upon which our nation was founded and through which more than one hundred new countries have emerged over the past half century,” ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian said.

“Using the profoundly incendiary and patently inaccurate language of "occupation," this proposed framework again effectively calls upon Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia - the victims of Baku's war of aggression - to make up-front, strategic security concessions in return for entirely undefined and easily reversible promises by an increasingly belligerent Azerbaijani government,” he emphasized.

“We remain hopeful in the overall prospects for an OSCE-brokered peace, are disappointed by the status and security asymmetry in this particular proposal, and look forward to engaging, as meaningful stakeholders, in a more balanced, inclusive and democratic framework for the future of the independent Republic of Nagorno Karabakh. Over-riding Baku's veto on Nagorno Karabakh's full and direct participation in all peace talks should, of course, be the first item on the OSCE's agenda,” Hamparian concluded.

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The initiative is implemented by Protection of Rights Without Borders NGO with the support of the OSCE Office in Yerevan.
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