OSCE Minsk Group concerned over targeted killings at border, contact line

OSCE Minsk Group concerned over targeted killings at border, contact line

PanARMENIAN.Net - The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France) met separately with the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Edward Nalbandian, and the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov, on July 22 in Brussels. The Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, also participated in the meetings.

According to the OSCE press service, the Co-Chairs expressed their serious concern about the increase in tensions and violence, including the targeted killings of civilians, along the line of contact and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. They urged the parties to commit themselves to avoiding casualties and rejected the deliberate targeting of villages and the civilian population. They called on the Foreign Ministers to defuse tensions and adhere to the terms of the ceasefire.

The Co-Chairs and Foreign Ministers also discussed possible agenda items for a presidential summit, underscoring the importance of a meeting between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan for achieving progress in peace negotiations. They also discussed meetings which could take place in New York on the margins of the UN General Assembly.

The Co-Chairs continue to review possible security confidence building measures and people-to-people programs with the parties. They believe that such programs build the trust and confidence necessary for a lasting peace.

In Vienna, the Co-Chairs briefed the countries of the Minsk Group about the status of peace negotiations.

During the meeting with the OSCE Co-Chairs in Brussels, Nalbandian drew the mediators’ attention to Azerbaijan’s bellicose rhetoric of the past weeks, with Baku’s statements distorting the essence and content of the negotiations. Multiple violations of ceasefire at the Armenian border and the line of contact with Nagorno Karabakh that claimed human lives, and intensification of subversive acts were also mentioned.

As the Minister stressed, Baku’s provocative steps aggravates the situation, hindering the peacemaking efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group.

“Despite insistent calls of the international community, Azerbaijani leadership continues its non-constructive and dangerous policy by persecuting and arresting proponents of reconciliation and peace on fabricated charges,” Minister Nalbandian stressed.

The official further noted that the Azerbaijani authorities are trying to take their own experience of corruption to the level of inter-state relations and coax out statements from some countries, thus undermining the progress of negotiations.

In conclusion, Nalbandian reiterated Armenia’s willingness to continue efforts for peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

Photo from Tigran Balayan's Twitter account
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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