Lithuanian President: Resolution of protracted conflicts crucial for OSCE

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 13 April 2011 17:59 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, April 13 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /

Protracted conflicts are of key importance to the OSCE, and efforts to resolve them are crucial to unity among the Organization's 56 participating States, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite told the OSCE Permanent Council today.

Grybauskaite said there were opportunities to bring progress in the Transdniestrian conflict settlement process. She also said she would use a visit next month to the South Caucasus to encourage confidence-building measures, and called on all sides to invest in such measures.

"All sides need to go further in trust and confidence-building measures in the (South) Caucasus," she said. "Small steps can have a big impact as we seek resolution to outstanding issues."

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 7 surrounding districts.

Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - 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.

Discussing the importance of gender equality, Grybauskaite said that Lithuania, which also chairs the Community of Democracies, supported efforts "to strengthen the role of women in world leadership, to provide equal opportunities for women and men as well as to integrate gender equality into policies and practices".

She called on all OSCE participating States to be more open to co-operation on nuclear power safety issues and to perform stress tests on nuclear power plants, saying the tragic events in Japan had proved that security must be increased.

She also highlighted the importance of the agreements made by leaders at the 2010 OSCE Summit, held in Kazakhstan's capital Astana in December.