OSCE to emphasize confidence-building measures between parties of Nagorno Karabakh conflict
Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 21 / Trend /
Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for Protracted Conflicts Giedrius Cekuolis intends to emphasize the importance of confidence-building measures, including the removal of snipers from the contact line, during meetings in Baku and Yerevan this week.
"Confidence can only be increased when bloodshed has stopped," Cekuolis said in an interview with Mediamax on the eve of his visit to the South Caucasus.
He said the Lithuanian chairmanship will facilitate discussions with Armenia and Azerbaijan as well as other OSCE participating states to consider options for confidence-building measures and strengthening OSCE monitoring activities on the ground.
"In this we regard, we welcome the recent agreement between the presidents to strengthen the ceasefire regime and confidence-building measures in the military sphere. The Lithuanian chairmanship stands ready together with Minsk Group co-chairs to do what it can to facilitate the implementation of this agreement, "he said.
Lithuania, Cekuolis said, encourages Armenia and Azerbaijan to take the necessary steps to achieve a breakthrough in negotiations based on the principles of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act.
"There is no alternative to a peaceful resolution of the conflict," Cekuolis said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the US - Are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.