by Tatevik Shahunyan
Azerbaijan's stance does not allow to reach progress at the talks on Karabakh settlement, Armenia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Shavarsh Kocharyan, told Arminfo correspondent when commenting on the latest statement made by the co-chairs.
When touching on the word expressions "occupied territories" and "the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan", that were mentioned in the statement, Kocharyan said: "These are the most critical points, around which there is no accord, which the OSCE MG co-chairs also say about. The Madrid document in general was taken by the parties as a basis of the talks, but not the six points fixed in it separately".
Asked about expediency of abandoning the OSCE MG format after such a statement, Kocharyan replied that Azerbaijan wants to abandon as Baku has been trying to disorient the world community through raising the Karabakh issue in various parliamentary instances, which in fact are not aware of it. "As for the OSCE MG, Baku does not manage to disorient that, as the intermediaries are well aware of the conflict. For this reason, Azerbaijan is trying to abandon this format", - he explained. He also added that the OSCE MG format has two missions - to assist the parties reach accord when making mutual compromises, and not to allow breaking of fragile truce.
The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group have issued the following statement on the twentieth anniversary of the ceasefire agreement.
"On the twentieth anniversary of the 1994 ceasefire agreement, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs invite the people of the region to reflect upon the legacy of the past two decades.
That agreement brought an end to outright war, halted the tragic violence of previous years, and laid the groundwork for negotiations that offered the sides a path to peace. Thanks to the resulting truce a new generation of Armenians and Azerbaijanis grew up without experiencing the horrors of war. The sides should do everything possible to protect future generations from such experience.
The ceasefire agreement did not, however, resolve the underlying conflict. It left the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh occupied and failed to provide a path forward on status for Nagorno-Karabakh. The absence of a final settlement has resulted in the ongoing displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, the perpetual threat of escalating violence along the international border and the Line of Contact, and a misconception in some quarters that the status quo can be sustained indefinitely.
The sides have shown little willingness to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the co-chairs countries or make the political decisions necessary for progress in this peace process.
We share a common position on this conflict, and remain firmly committed to helping the sides reach a peaceful settlement as soon as possible based on the core principles of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act, particularly those pertaining to the non-use of force, territorial integrity, and equal rights and self-determination of peoples. A settlement will have to include the elements outlined by the Presidents of the co-chair countries in statements from 2009 to 2013, which include the return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh guaranteeing security and self-governance, a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh, final status of Nagorno-Karabakh to be determined in the future by a legally-binding expression of will, the right of all internally-displaced persons and refugees to return, and international security guarantees, including a peacekeeping operation. In November we saw a promising renewal of dialogue at the highest levels. We call on the sides to enter into constructive, good-faith negotiations resulting in a peace agreement based on these elements in order to bring about a lasting settlement to the conflict.
Such a settlement will not be possible without a basis of trust and understanding between the Armenian and Azerbaijani people. We call on the sides to commit to active people to people programs and security confidence building measures to reinforce the peace process.
Armenians and Azerbaijanis deserve to live in peace and security, and we stand ready to help. The sides must take the necessary steps towards peace. When they do, it will be with the full support of the OSCE and the international community."