OSCE CiO rep. concerned for team safety in Karabakh border tensions

OSCE CiO rep. concerned for team safety in Karabakh border tensions

PanARMENIAN.Net -

Recent disturbing incidents on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border and contact line indicate escalation of tensions, the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office said.

As Andrzej Kasprzyk said in an interview with Trend, "every casualty is a tragedy, and not only for the families of those affected. My team and I regularly monitor the front lines, last on May 19 and June 10, and the reports we receive during these exercises are consistent with this picture. The incidents occur on a specific location, however the tension then spreads along the lines," he said.

Kasprzyk underscored that the ceasefire is in force through the agreement reached between the parties and their political will.

"It is therefore the responsibility of the sides to ensure that their troops do not violate the ceasefire on the line of contact and the border. It is up to the commanders of the respective forces to implement it, and every violation is an indication of the need to improve fulfillment of their responsibilities."

Kasprzyk went on to stress the OSCE leadership and Minsk Group’s efforts in strengthening the cease-fire and finding ways to mitigate the consequences of these incidents.

"Relevant proposals were formulated and presented for consideration. The ultimate responsibility, however, lies with the sides to adhere to ceasefire agreement. I am also concerned about the safety of my team, as the mounting tension puts us at risk when performing our duties in the trenches along the front lines," he stressed.

"For such data we rely on the information provided to us and also published by the military authorities. The number of shots fired and violations is high, according to this information. The number of casualties this year is already higher than last year," Kasprzyk said commenting on the number of violations on the contact line.

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.

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