Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 19
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
The OSCE Minsk Group will continue its efforts on settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, U.S. Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, James Warlick said in an interview with the RadioFreeEurope's Armenian Service.
"Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents met on Nov. 19 in Vienna, and it was the first time they met in the past few years. And it was good news for all of us. We look forward to the dialogue continuing, because that is how we can finally find the way to a peaceful settlement," Warlick said. "And it really depends on the two presidents. If they have the political will to resolve this issue, to work with each other and find a way forward, this will happen, and the Minsk Group is here to help advance the process".
He said there are some very difficult issues that must be addressed.
"I believe that both sides can find a way forward. A durable and peaceful settlement of this long conflict is in the interests of all parties," Warlick said. "Nobody wants a war. That is the thing. We are now in a situation where there is neither peace nor war. People deserve better than what they have now, and the search for a path for a lasting settlement is the way to go. This can bring a new era of prosperity in the region, it is a conflict that can be resolved, and I sincerely hope that the political leaders will be able to find a way for the people's sake," he said.
Warlick also said that the search for a path to a durable peace is extremely important, and the United States wants to help.
"We want to work through the Minsk Group, we are committed to this format in order to find a way. I share the same views as my Russian and French colleagues, and we want to move together as a team to find a way to reach a settlement," Warlick 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 per cent 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 U.S. are currently holding 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.
Translated by E.A.
Edited by C.N.