Norway, Sweden haven't been asked to assemble Karabakh peacekeeping force

Norway, Sweden haven't been asked to assemble Karabakh peacekeeping force

PanARMENIAN.Net - Norway and Sweden have said they have not been contacted for putting together a peacekeeping force to be deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh, although a top U.S. official said Washington is "working with Scandinavian governments" on the matter.

U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said on October 30 that "both countries should accept Scandinavian peacekeepers, and we are working with Scandinavian governments to put together a peacekeeping force that could be deployed into the region to keep the ceasefire."

PanARMENIAN.Net reached out to the Foreign Ministries of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark for comment, and while the first two said they have not been asked to contribute to a peacekeeping force, Finland declined to comment on the issue at the moment, and the Foreign Ministry of Denmark did not respond to our request.

The Press Office of the Swedish Foreign Ministry said their government is following closely and with great concern the escalation of the conflict, which has intensified over the past month.

"Sweden is in close contact with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and other relevant actors with regard to what is required for bringing an end to the conflict and achieving a peaceful settlement. To date, we have not received any official request to contribute to a peacekeeping force and no decision has been made to establish such an operation."

State Secretary Audun Halvorsen of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that promoting the peace process by deploying OSCE multinational peacekeeping forces is part of the mandate of the Minsk Group.

"Norway has not been contacted by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs on this matter. The humanitarian ceasefire must be upheld, and we encourage the parties to the conflict, as well as all actors in the region, to refrain from any activities that could contribute to renewed escalation. We call on the parties to re-engage in meaningful and substantive negotiations under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group without preconditions.”

Days after O'Brien's remarks, Vagharshak Harutyunyan, chief advisor to the Armenian Prime Minister, said the deployment of Scandinavian peacekeepers in Karabakh is unlikely. Harutyunyan said O’brien has only made a proposal.

The Armenian side has generally expressed support for the deployment of Russian peacekeepers in the conflict zone. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he doesn't mind the idea either but that all the sides to the conflict should give consent.

Azerbaijan, with help from Turkey and terrorist mercenaries deployed by Ankara, started a war against Karabakh (Artsakh) in the morning of September 27. The Armenian side has reported deaths and injuries both among the civilian population and the military. Foreign and local journalists too have been injured in Azeri shelling of towns and villages.

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