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Angelo Gnadinger: Swiss OSCE Chairmanship is ready to help the parties to the Karabakh conflict intensify the dialogue

  • by Marianna Mkrtchyan

  • Thursday, March 27, 12:57

 The Swiss OSCE Chairmanship is ready to provide any support to the OSCE Minsk Group and to create relevant conditions, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for South Caucasus, Angelo Gnadinger told Trend.

During the meeting with Azerbaijani officials on peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict Gnadinger had a constructive discussion with Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.  "During this meeting I underlined the importance of the Minsk process from the perspective of the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship since we consider the conflict as a continuing cause of suffering for the all too many people affected and as a threat to the whole Caucasus region. When addressing the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on 16 January, Mr Didier Burkhalter, the Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE and Foreign Minister of Switzerland, made clear that it is not an option for Switzerland to simply "wait and see"," Gnadinger said.

Switzerland fully supports the Minsk process and closely cooperates with the co-chairs and Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, the Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office for the conflict dealt with by the Minsk Conference, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office said.  Gnadinger pointed out that Switzerland is committed to mobilize support for the process within the OSCE community, to contribute to a conducive environment for the process and to enable a dialogue between those involved in diplomatic efforts and those working with the civil society in both countries. Switzerland pays particular attention to projects, which enable people-to-people contact and initiatives aimed at rebuilding confidence between the parties.

Gnadinger stressed that the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship is ready to provide any support to the Minsk Group Co-Chairs and encourage the parties to intensify their dialogue.

Talking about the priorities in the region, Gnadinger said that his country is trying to support and strengthen existing formats; to encourage intensified contacts between the societies of the countries in the South Caucasus and provide expertise.

"On behalf of the OSCE, I am co-chairing the Geneva International Discussions which we consider as indispensable for addressing the consequences of the August 2008 conflict in Georgia. I also take part in the meetings of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism in Ergneti which has proven to be instrumental in stabilizing the security situation on the ground and addressing the daily concerns of people and security questions," Gnadinger said.

A specific focus of the OSCE will be on joint projects between young people, certain professional groups - journalists, artists, disaster-relief workers and on regional cooperation, according to Gnadinger.  The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict broke out on February 28 1988 in the Azerbaijani Sumgait with massacre of Armenians as a peculiar response of Azerbaijanis to the peaceful demand of the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous Region, part of the Azerbaijani SSR, to unite with the Armenian SSR. This resulted in other pogroms of Armenians in Baku, Kirovabad and other regions of Azerbaijan populated with Armenians. In 1991  Azerbaijan unleashed war against peaceful populations of Nagorno-Karabakh, expulsing ethnic Armenians from the territory of Azerbaijan. Dozens of thousands of peaceful residents on both parties were killed in the military actions, and hundreds of thousands were left homeless and have become refugees. In 1994 in Bishkek in mediation of the OSCE MG, the NKR, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a Protocol on Ceasefire that is observed more or less so far. Since 1992 the OSCE Minsk Group represented by co- chairs from Russia, U.S. and France has been mediating in resolution of the conflict unleashed by Azerbaijan in 1988. At present the peace process is based on the Madrid Principles suggested by the OSCE MG in 2007 in Madrid and renovated in 2009. 

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