Foresight Canada center head: Unbiased mediator would contribute to Nagorno-Karabakh settlement

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 5 October 2010 17:38 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 5 / Trend E. Ostapenko /

The influential and impartial mediators should be involved to achieve real results in the process of peace talks on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, David Harries, Foresight Canada strategic center executive director, said.

"I think that a mediator without bias and personal interests, but having knowledge and experience in resolving the issues to be considered should be involved to achieve progress in peace negotiations," Harries said in an interview with Trend.

The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding negotiations to resolve the dispute.

Other international organizations, such as the UN were indirectly involved in the process.

U.N. Security Council adopted four resolutions stipulating the liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions.

However, these resolutions did not cause practical actions.

Harris, a military engineer and a retired colonel in the Armed Forces of Canada, thinks that any mediation at a high level will include the differences, personal interests and biases of mediators.

For example, the U.S representative will never take steps that would be contrary to the interests of the United States. The same applies to Russia and France, he said. The observers from any country must coordinate all their actions not to contradict each other. All this takes time and delays the process, he said.

Turkey's accession is a possible positive change in the format of the Minsk Group co-chairmanship, Harries said.

"Today, Turkey with its influence and political activism, pipelines and railways passing through its territory, its geographical location and cooperation with NATO can offer much more than France, Russia and the United States can or want to offer," Harries said.

The OSCE Minsk Group has been coordinating the negotiations between the parties of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict since May 1994 - the time of reaching a ceasefire. There are no results of a 16-year mediation activity yet. Roughly 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions, are still under Armenian occupation.

The best variant to improve the effectiveness of mediation is to involve the independent public figure of a world scale, such as, Bill Clinton, Harries said said.

"By such a famous person's mediating, people will have expectations in connection with his work, as they know and respect him," Harries said.

Bill Clinton, the 42-nd U.S. President and founder of HIV/AIDS foundation, has been recently conducting active public work. He is a member of various public political and charitable organizations.

Clinton also has successful experience in cooperation with international organizations and governments of some countries to liquidate disaster. He was the coordinator of international aid after floods in Indonesia and the earthquake in Haiti.

Regarding the negotiations, Harries said that it is necessary to find the spheres important to both sides of the conflict to successfully advance the negotiations and which both parties are willing to discuss.

An open and honest dialogue is the suitable sphere that would facilitate a gradual move to solve the conflict, he said.