Azerbaijan has responsibility for peace in region: OSCE rep

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 13 February 2009 13:13 (UTC +04:00)
Azerbaijan has responsibility for peace in region: OSCE rep

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 13/ Trend , J. Babayeva/

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Special Representative on Nagorno-Karabakh Goran Lenmarker said Azerbaijan has responsibility to bring peace to the South Caucasus.

"Regional countries must support each other to protect their sovereignty. Azerbaijan has great responsibility to do so. The more the Azerbaijani economy develops, the more responsibility the country will have," Lenmarker said at a meeting with the Azerbaijani delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

Lenmarker visited Azerbaijan as part of a trip to the South Caucasus. His goal was to become familiar with talks on resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The visit will end with a report, which will be read at the OSCE winter session in Vienna on Feb. 19-20.

Earlier Lenmarker said the EU places too little attention on the South Caucasus.

"Now the situation has changed. The EU Neighborhood Policy has been launched," he said.

He added that cooperation among South Caucasus countries is vital to bring peace to the region.

"South Caucasus countries must cooperate closely especially after the August events," he said.

The special envoy said finding a resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is inevitable.

"Three years ago I wrote a report on a golden opportunity to resolve the conflict. This opportunity still exists," Lenmarker said.

Lenmarker described Armenia as a small country with a weak economy.

"It would be better not to focus on conflicts, but rather on regional energy issues," he said.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan lost all of Nagorno-Karabakh except for Shusha and Khojali in December 1991. In 1992-93, Armenian armed forces occupied Shusha, Khojali and 7 districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.

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