Baku, Azerbaijan, June 13
By Sabina Ahmadova - Trend:
Recently, several worrying incidents on the Azerbaijani-Armenian contact line and the border were reported, which indicates that the tension is high, Andrzej Kasprzyk, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Personal Representative said in this exclusive interview with Trend.
"Every casualty is a tragedy, not least for the families of those affected. My team and I are regularly monitoring the front lines, last on May 19 and June 10, and the reports we receive during these exercises are consistent with this picture. The incidents occur in a specific location, however the tension then spreads along the lines," he said.
Kasprzyk underscored that the ceasefire is in force through the agreement reached between the parties and their political will.
"It is therefore the responsibility of the sides to ensure that their troops do not violate the cease-fire on the line of contact and the border. It is up to the commanders of the respective forces to implement it, and every violation is an indication of the need to improve this implementation."
Kasprzyk went on to add that the chairmanship of the OSCE, the co-chairs of the Minsk Group and he are working to strengthen the cease-fire and find ways to mitigate the consequences of these incidents.
"Relevant proposals were formulated and presented for consideration. The ultimate responsibility however lies with the sides to adhere to the cease-fire agreement. I am also concerned about the safety of my team, as the mounting tension puts us at risk when performing our duties in the trenches along the front- lines," he stressed.
"For such data we rely on the information provided to us and also published by the military authorities. The number of shots fired and violations is high, according to this information. The number of casualties this year is already higher than for the previous year," Kasprzyk said comparing the statistics of recent years.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The two countries 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.
Edited by CN