Decline of Gunfire on Azerbaijan-Armenian Border Depends not only on Activity of OSCE Mission
Great Britain, London /corr. Trend G.Ahmadova / A decline of shootings in the line of contact of the troops of Azerbaijan and Armenia depends not only on the activity of the OSCE mission in the region, but also the conflicting parties themselves.
"We are always unhappy when there is shooting, that is obvious. It is one of my aims to reduce the shooting on the line of contact," said the special representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Andzey Kasprzyk, said in his interview with Trend in London.
The office of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office has been functioning since 1995. Despite the ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan reached in 1994, the ceasefire regime is broken often. Although the sides have not announced the number of breaks of the ceasefire agreement, over the recent months, the Defence Ministry of Azerbaijan published weekly data on the shootings from the Armenian side to the Azerbaijani positions in several directions.
The Director of the Center for Democratic Civil Control in the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, retired officer Alekper Mammadov, said that nearly 5,000 Azerbaijani military men have died during the ceasefire regime. However, the independent military expert, Uzeyir Jafarov, said that more than 1,000 civil residents died as a result of breaking of the ceasefire regime.
Kasprzyk who heads regular monitorings on the line of contact regretfully highlights the existence of periodic firing in the line of contact. "We have a mandate but we are not a peacekeeping operation," Kasprzyk said. "Of course you must understand that it does not entirely depend on us. We are six people together and we have limited possibilities," he added.
The conflict between the two countries of South Caucasus began in 1988 due to territorial claims by Armenia against Azerbaijan. Armenia has occupied 20% of the Azerbaijani land including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding Districts. Since 1992, these territories have been under the occupation of the Armenian Forces. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France and USA) are currently holding peaceful negotiations.