Belarus hosts “helpful meeting” on Nagorno-Karabakh peace

By: Mushvig Mehdiyev

Belarus has hosted a helpful meeting in view of reaching a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, one of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group said.

OSCE Minsk Group co-chair of the U.S., James Warlick hailed talks between mediators and the Belarus government in Minsk on March 12, attributing it as a positive step towards the resolution of the Karabakh conflict.

“Meetings in Minsk on Nagorno-Karabakh peace were helpful. We look forward to working with all members of the OSCE Minsk Group,” Warlick posted on his Twitter page.

Warlick and his counterparts at the OSCE Minsk Group, Pierre Andrieu (France) and Igor Popov (Russia), joined by OSCE Chairman’s Personal Representative, Andrzej Kasprzyk, met in Minsk to devise means and ways in which negotiations could be fruitful to solve the protracted Nagorno-Karabakh issue.

The Belarus government expressed its readiness to host further meetings in view of solving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Following a brief excursus by mediators into the situation on the conflict zone and the process of peace negotiations, Belarus Foreign Minister, Uladzimir Makei said his country was even ready to provide a venue to hold the final phase of the negotiation process.

“As we did in the Ukraine crisis, we are ready to contribute and offer means to facilitate the swift resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” Makei added, voicing his country’s decisive support to the OSCE activity.

Belarus’s primary option in view of the recent situation around Karabakh is to reduce tensions on the line of contact and to prevent further casualties.

“Since we have close friendly relations with both countries, we welcome the intensification of contacts between Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders,” Makei said.

Earlier last month, mediators departed for the Finnish capital city Helsinki to hold talks with Suomi officials. Following the Helsinki meeting, Pierre Andrieu promised on behalf of all mediators to exert “all-out efforts” toward reducing tension in the conflict.

OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs’ visit to Minsk, as well as to Helsinki, is part of consecutive trips to Minsk Group member-states.

Serbia and Italy are reportedly the next destinations on the agenda.

True to their traditional calls, Minsk Group mediators have persistently urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to take appropriate measures toward achieving tranquility on the contact line as to prevent tensions from flaring into fatal skirmishes. Mediators already emphasized that a military solution to the conflict is not acceptable.

However, despite mediators’ many efforts, the OSCE Minsk Group has failed so far to manifest a breakthrough, especially in light of Armenia’s refusal to comply with UN resolutions. And because the group has failed to set up an action plan in view of Armenia’s defiance before international law, talks have stalled, offering little to no hope.

Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized Nagorno-Karabakh territory was turned into a battlefield and zone of aggravated tensions after Armenia sent its troops to occupy Azerbaijan’s lands in the early 1990s. As a result, 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory stands under military occupation of Armenia.

For the past two decades, and despite calls from the international community, Armenia has refused to withdraw its troops and retreat within its national borders.