By Sara Rajabova
Long delays in resolving Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have given rise to the ideas of changing the format of talks which are currently led by the OSCE Minsk Group.
The recent escalation of violence in the contact line of Armenian and Azerbaijani troops has raised new concerns as ceasefire violations caused loss of life and injuries not only among the military, but also among civilians.
The ongoing peace process concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group has yielded no results to date. In addition, the negotiations have stalemated as there has been no breakthrough in the talks since beginning of 2014.
Senior Fellow at American Foreign Policy Council, Professor Stephen Blank said the U.S. president should pave the way for a meeting between Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev analogous to that at Camp David in 1978 to broker a settlement.
U.S. President Jimmy Carter brokered the negotiations between Israel and Egypt in 1978 that led to a historic peace agreement between the two countries.
Blank said Barack Obama should be ready to offer the necessary mediation and funding as well as peacekeepers either through NATO or the UN to bring both sides to peace.
He further noted that there is no viable negotiating forum for a peace process to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at present.
"I don't see anything that could remotely be called a peace process. Instead, there are many armed clashes between both sides. There is no viable negotiating forum for a peace process at present," Blank said.
Regarding some views on replacing OSCE Minsk group with a neutral moderator, Blank said, the U.S. and France will have to play that role.
Earlier, British Member of Parliament, Lord Kilclooney said OSCE Minsk group should be replaced by a neutral mediator.
Touching upon the participation of civil society in the conflict resolution, Blank said at present, there is no effective civil society in either country to promote a solution.
"Indeed I would argue that the war's continuation for all these years has been a major obstacle to the development of civil society in both Armenia and Azerbaijan. A peaceful resolution is a necessary precondition for the appearance in both countries of genuinely democratizing trends in society, economics, and politics," Blank said.
Armenia occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, after laying territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor that caused a brutal war in the early 1990s. Long-standing efforts by U.S, Russian and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far.
The UN Security Council has passed four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal from the Azerbaijani territory, but they have not been enforced to this day.
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