Switzerland supports Minsk Group mediation: OSCE chairman

By: Sara Rajabova

OSCE chairman, Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter welcomed the statement by the OSCE Minsk Group on May 12 in connection with the 20th anniversary of the 1994 ceasefire agreement signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Burkhalter expressed gratitude to co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Andrzej Kasprzyk for their tireless mediation efforts, OSCE website reported.

He recalled that the ceasefire agreement of 1994 put an end to the war, the consequences of which are still adversely affect the daily lives of many people in the South Caucasus.

Burkhalter said the incidents on the contact line continue and the conflict still remains unresolved.

In his appeal, Burkhalter acceded to the co-chairs statement, saying the parties should take the necessary measures to ensure peace.

He further noted that as a chairman of the OSCE, Switzerland always supports the mediation of the Minsk Group.

The precarious cease-fire between Azerbaijan and Armenia was reached after a lengthy war that displaced over a million Azerbaijanis and has been in place between the two South Caucasus countries since 1994. Since the hostilities, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions calling on Armenia’s withdrawal from the Azerbaijani territory, but they have not been enforced to this day.

Peace talks, mediated by Russia, France and the U.S. through the OSCE Minsk Group, are underway on the basis of a peace outline proposed by the Minsk Group co-chairs dubbed the Madrid Principles. The negotiations have been largely fruitless so far.


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