Interview with Andjey Casprzyk, a special envoy of the OSCE on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Question: The armistice breaches in the Armenian-Azerbaijani frontline have been intensified over the past period, which resulted in the loss of people. IsnвЂ™t it linked with the aggravation of the situation in the conflict zone caused by the inner political situation in Armenia and Azerbaijan?
Answer: I would not relate such facts with the inner political situation. There are soldiers in the frontline who sit in different positions and are always informed on the implementation of monitoring. With respect to ensure the security of members of the monitoring group the soldiers take every effort to prevent the shooting. Irrespective on the shortcomings, we live with ceasefire regime.
Even there are cases when the soldiers sleep in the post, while waking up and unaware of the situation they fire on their fellows regarding them as enemies. Such sad facts, surely, should not occur. The same time, it is impossible to avoid the victims.
Question: Is it worth to continue the monitoring of the contact line, if their activities excite more and more questions?
Answer: The ceasefire regime is maintained thanks to political will of the sides. It has been repeatedly stated by the Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents. The conflict sides stated their strong desire for holding talks and achievement of the peaceable resolution to the conflict. Therefore, the OSCE helps the governments of the two countries to affect on the commanders of the military units to ensure the war discipline in the places. Thanks to the monitoring group the commanders know that they are under control. Certainly, it is impossible to speak about the OSCE, as we do not have any authority. I am sure that the factor promotes relaxation of tension and cut in death cases. Otherwise, we will never conduct monitoring frequently. To my mind, the monitoring at any rate, contributes in the maintenance of the stability in the region.
Question: How do you regard the necessity of the participation of the head of the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh, Nizami Bahmanov, in the negotiation process? IsnвЂ™t it high time to initiate the direct meetings between the heads of the two communities?
Answer: There is agreement on holding talks under the so-called вЂ�Prague processвЂ™. The Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents met in Warsaw in May and in Kazan in August on the base of the talks between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries. After the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, which hold mandate for the participation in the talks, have worked and are now working over the results of the negotiations. We know Bahmanov very well and I can say that we are friends. Every time when the co-chairs arrive in Baku, and not only the co-chairs, but also the OSCE chairman-in-office, an issue on the necessity of a meeting with Bahmanov is put forward.
As to the involvement of the head of the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh in the negotiation process, I should note that today there is not a format of talks. The time will come when Bahmanov will hold firm word in the negotiation process. Indirectly, his opinion assumes significance, as he represents refugees and the Azerbaijani President counts with the refugeesвЂ™ opinion. As to dialogue between the two communities, I always supported the dialogue. It is necessary to meet and talk to find a point of touch.
Question: You participated in a number of meetings between the representatives of Azerbaijan and Armenia. Is it possible to speak on any progress achieved in the negotiation?
Answer: The question directly concerns the mandate of the OSCE Minsk Group. The Presidents of the two countries want the negotiation process to remain confidential. Nevertheless, I think it would be a mistake to note that we all feel serious approach. The meetings were intensive enough. The co-chairs work actively, as the Presidents also note. However, during the elections process the countryвЂ™s leadership is interested in other issues, while I donвЂ™t think the negotiation process has delayed temporality. On 24-25 October Washington will host a meeting of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. On 5-6 the Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers will meet in Ljubljana under a meeting of the FMs of OSCE member-countries, which assumes considerable importance.
Question: The International Crisis Group (ICG) prepared two reports on the ways of resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The documents caused broad resonance in Azerbaijan and Armenia. How could such initiatives affect the negotiation process?
Answer: the Nagorno-Karabakh is an outdated conflict and its unsettlement seriously concerns most people in the different points of the world. The majority would like to see soonest resolution to it. There are also organizations interested in it. For instance, the major term for members of Azerbaijan and Armenia in the Council of Europe was the commitment for peaceable resolution of the conflict. Sometimes, even UN states on the issue. However, only the OSCE Minsk group has a mandate for the resolution of the conflict. Undoubtedly, it is impossible to resolve the conflict without the agreement of sides involved in it
As to initiatives by different international organizations, including the International Crisis Group, their steps could somehow bring closer, or show something. Finally, such initiatives by the ICG should be used by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.
Question: Over the last period the Azerbaijani and Armenian press has focused on the statement by Russian Ambassador Yuriy Merzlyakov, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair, who urged that part of the authorities of the Minsk Group can be given to the PACE Ad Hoc Committee on Nagorno-Karabakh. What is your opinion on such statements?
Answer: I think the press distorted MerzlyakovвЂ™s statement. There is no intention on transfer of the OSCE Minsk GroupвЂ™s authorities to other organizations.
Question: How do you estimate BakuвЂ™s initiatives on the inclusion of the issue on occupied territory of Azerbaijan to the agenda of the 60th UN session? Armenia came out with a strict statement in this respect. There were sounded statements on negative character of atomism of efforts on different international organizations. How correct are these suppositions?
Answer: As you know Azerbaijan has initiated the discussion of the issue on the settlement of the Azerbaijani lands under the Armenian occupation at the United Nations, as a result of which the OSCE directed assessment group to the area. The group wrote down their observation and prepared a report. Sometimes, they take additional measures in connection with the discussion of the issue at different levels. The same can be said about the Council of Europe, while even the PACE attracted the OSCE to the hearings on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The last meeting of the PACE Ad Hoc Committee on Nagorno-Karabakh elaborated the CE on the current state of the negotiations. However, I restate that all activities of the other organizations and group of people, are not implemented in line with mandate.