Baku, Azerbaijan, March 27
By Sabina Ahmadova - Trend:
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 conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.