Azerbaijan, Baku, July 21 / Trend, E.Ostapenko /
The protracted conflicts are the most urgent problems as they hinder all kinds of development in the entire region, the newly appointed OSCE PA Special Representative for the South Caucasus
Joao Soares said in an interview with Trend.
"My mandate is rather broad, including all three dimensions of the OSCE's comprehensive security concept. I will, however, also dedicate part of my work to the important democratic reforms that all three countries are undertaking, and I look forward to following these developments," he said.
The OSCE Minsk Group is the format for negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict. The OSCE, with its comprehensive security concept and wide membership is the best possible forum to assist Armenia and Azerbaijan in solving this conflict, Soares believes.
"However, the Minsk Group does not exist to impose any solution on any party. The sides must agree. The solution will have to be a compromise, and therefore both sides will need to give in on some of their demands," he underlined.
Soares believes that this is a difficult process, and it is painful for the sides in the conflict. "But a peaceful solution is the only viable way forward," he added.
Visiting the region in person is the only way to have a direct dialogue on Nagorno-Karabakh with all segments of society in both Armenia and Azerbaijan, he believes. "As Special Representative on the South Caucasus, I will be visiting the region as soon as possible," Soares added.
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.
"For the conflicts in Georgia, I believe that the Geneva Talks are the best format," he said. "The talks are the most comprehensive format, as they include the UN, the EU and the OSCE," Soares added.
The Geneva talks were convened after an armed conflict in Georgia in August 2008, in accordance with the Ceasefire Agreement of August 12.
Military actions were launched in the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia in August 2008. Georgian troops entered Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia and later Russian troops occupied the city and drove the Georgian military back to Georgia. Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on Aug. 26 and established diplomatic relations with them on Sept. 9, 2008.