U.S. Co-Chair's certain Karabakh remarks go "unnoticed" at Foreign Ministry

U.S. Co-Chair's certain Karabakh remarks go

PanARMENIAN.Net - Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian commented on the statement of the OSCE Minsk Group U.S. Co-Chair James Warlick on ‘six elements’ for the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

“Unlike Azerbaijan, Armenia on numerous occasions has commended and stressed the importance of the consistent efforts of the heads of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries – USA, Russia and France, in supporting the sides to the conflict to reach exclusively peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.

The American diplomat is correct, that the parties have almost reached agreements on a number of occasions, and brings 2011 Kazan Summit as the latest example.

It is well-known that because of Baku’s backtrackings, its attempts to snatch one-sided advantages made it impossible to achieve progress in Kazan in June 2011, at the summits in Sochi in March 2011, in Astrakhan in October 2010, in Saint-Petersburg in June 2010, even though the sides were close to reaching agreements. I would like to recall that Baku backtracked several times in the past as well, for instance – 10 years before Kazan, in 2001.

The American Ambassador rightly finds sniper shootings along the Line of Contact, the human losses as unacceptable, highlighting that the OSCE monitors were not able to have neither the mandate nor the resources to identify those responsible, to reduce the reported thousands of ceasefire violations every year.

As the Co-Chair states, we have many times urged to respect ceasefire agreement reached in May 1994. Unlike Armenia, Azerbaijan has rejected and continues rejecting numerous proposals made by Co-Chair countries to consolidate ceasefire, withdraw snipers from the Line of Contact, and create a mechanism of investigation of incidents and ceasefire violations.

Azerbaijan not only rejects those proposals, it continuously commits gross violations of ceasefire, masterminds provocations, does not respect even its own commitments on maintaining and strengthening the ceasefire - not only according to the provisions of the cease-fire agreement, reached between Azerbaijan, Karabakh and Armenia on May 12, 1994, but also the ceasefire consolidation agreement, reached in the same three-party format on February 4, 1995, according to which Azerbaijan was obliged to refrain from statements that could escalate the situation and to immediately notify to the Armenian sides and Co-Chairs about violations, instead of increasing anti-Armenian propaganda by false accusations. For decades Baku has been violating those commitments.

In two days the 20th anniversary of the establishment of cease-fire is marked, and I hope that the Co-Chairs would use this important occasion to deliver a special statement containing a strong message. It is vital to exclude the use of force, thereby creating utmost favorable conditions for the success of the negotiation process.

We resolutely agree that peoples should be prepared for peace, not war. Unfortunately until now the Azerbaijani leadership has been doing just the reverse. In spite of the several appeals of the international community to refrain from provocative rhetoric and actions, Azerbaijan continues its bellicose statements, the glorification of murderers and persecution of peace advocates, the propaganda of xenophobia, intolerance and hatred, which leads to raising tension and escalation of the situation in the region.

The elements of the conflict settlement presented by James Warlick in general reflect the proposals of Co-Chair states.

As the Co-Chairs, we continue to believe that the elements outlined in the statements of the heads of the Co-Chair countries in L'Aquila, Muskoka, Deauville, Los Cabos and Enniskillen over the last years can be the foundation of reaching a lasting peaceful settlement of the conflict.

The American diplomat stresses that any enduring peace must reflect the views of all affected parties if it is to succeed. We have several times emphasized that without the full fledged involvement of Nagorno-Karabakh in the negotiation process, it will be impossible to achieve the resolution of the conflict.

The OSCE Minsk Group American Co-Chairman justly observed that any attempt to select some elements over others will make it impossible to achieve a balanced solution.

We share the Co-Chairs’ opinion, expressed many times, that those elements must be seen as an integrated whole and the attempts to give priority to some elements will make it impossible to reach the settlement.

Unlike Azerbaijan, which on the occasion and without makes references to only one principle of international law, in response to the appeals by the heads of Co-chair countries, Armenia has on several occasions reiterated and once again re-affirms its commitment to the principles of international law, particularly the non-use of force or the threat of force, equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and territorial integrity.

Together with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Armenia will consistently continue to exert joint efforts towards exclusively peaceful settlement of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Karabakh,” the Foreign Minister’s statement said.

U.S. Co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group has 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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