OSCE MG welcomes PACE resolution on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

By: Sara Rajabova

The OSCE Minsk Group, which was tasked with mediating a peaceful settlement of the long-standing Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, has welcomed the recent draft resolution by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

James Warlick, the U.S. co-chair of the Minsk Group, said the group was ready to work with PACE on resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“We have read the [draft] resolution and would welcome the opportunity to consult with the rapporteur and interested members of PACE on the current approach to Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations,” Warlick told Trend on November 6.

PACE’s political affairs committee approved on November 4 the draft resolution for “the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces and other irregular armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the other occupied territories of Azerbaijan and the establishment of the full sovereignty of Azerbaijan in these territories,” within the framework of the OSCE Minsk process.

The draft resolution was based on a report, titled “Escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied territories of Azerbaijan,” by PACE Rapporteur Robert Walter.

Warlick noted that the OSCE Minsk Group is available to work with any organization to help find a way forward on a lasting settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“It is also important to keep in mind that the Minsk Group format has been accepted by both sides, and the co-chairs will continue mediation efforts for a settlement based on the principles of territorial integrity, self-determination, and the non-use of force,” he added.

Meanwhile, former U.S. co-chair of the Minsk Group Matthew Bryza said, with the adoption of the resolution, PACE recommends Europe play a more active role in supporting the efforts of the Minsk Group to reach a framework agreement on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the Madrid principles presented seven years ago by the co-chairs.

He said “the PACE statement is precise and balanced, and reflects a deep understanding of the full range of issues associated with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”

Bryza told Trend that the statement repeats a long-standing call for the international community to support the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions of Azerbaijan.

“These factors, along with the immediate call for cessation by both sides of armed hostilities along the line of contact, underscore the three core elements of the Helsinki Final Act, on which any settlement of the conflict must be based: the territorial integrity of states, the self-determination of peoples and the non-use of force,” he said.

Bryza also noted that the draft resolution of PACE is a superbly drafted statement, which, like the statements of 10 years ago that it commemorates, may not have any practical impact because the Council of Europe has no means to implement such statements.

The draft resolution is due to be debated by the Assembly at its January 2016 session.

Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a lengthy war that ended with the signing of a fragile ceasefire in 1994. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million people were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities. Since the war, the Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions.

Armenia continues the occupation in defiance of four UN Security Council resolutions calling for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of armed forces.

Peace talks brokered by mediators from Russia, France and the U.S. have so far produced no results.


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