by Nana Martirosyan
The voice of the Nagorno-Karabakh people deserves to be heard, James Warlick, the U.S. Co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, says in his interview with the Voice of America.
"I do believe that all the parties are committed to finding a peaceful negotiated settlement. And that should be encouraging. The problem right now on the ground is that actions do not match words", he says.
"Following the meeting of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Vienna November 19, we saw the level of violence along the line of contact decrease. In fact, the number of incidents decreased significantly and for some time and that was an encouraging step", he says. He adds that this provided an atmosphere for making progress on negotiations. "But in the recent days, over the past week or so, we have seen a renewed escalation along the line of contact between Azerbaijan and Armenia, along the border. And that is of great concern to us. It's that kind of violence that can undermine our efforts at finding a negotiated peace", he says. "What we want is to create an atmosphere where the parties are prepared to move forward on finding a durable a lasting settlement", he says.
"All parties deserve a voice at the table. I have traveled several times to meet with individuals. In Nagorno-Karabakh I have heard their views. I want to continue to return there, but their voice deserves to be heard and ultimately, of course, it will be up to the parties to decide among themselves how that voice will be heard", says Warlick .
He also says that he will be joining the co-chairs very soon and they hope to continue a dialogue with the Presidents that can lead to a summit.
When speaking of the militaristic rhetoric of Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, he says, "People need to refrain from a language that needs to greater escalation". As regards the launch of the Stepanakert Airport, Ambassador Warlick says, "This should be an issue of discussion and a part of our negotiations. No side should take unilateral actions that could lead to increased tensions". "We need to have a dialogue so that we can move forward to come to a common ground and the airport should be a part of that dialogue and I can assure you that as we do talk to the foreign ministers and presidents, we do include the airport among the issues".