Time to take Nagorno-Karabakh talks to another level

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 16 September 2014 18:59 (UTC +04:00)
The time has come to move the negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to another level,
Time to take Nagorno-Karabakh talks to another level

The time has come to move the negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to another level, OSCE Minsk Group U.S. Co-chair James Warlick said at a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Armenia, tert.am news agency reported Sept. 16.

Warlick said he will meet in Yerevan with the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian. The meetings will continue the discussions that kicked off in Wales in early September with the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

After two weeks Warlick is also expected to meet with the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia in New York.

Warlick also expressed hope that the Armenian people know what the OSCE Minks Group wants in this process.

He said it is important that the Armenians are aware of the discussions, stressing that in both countries, the public needs to know how the negotiation process is going.

Warlick also expressed concern about the arms buildup and incidents on the line of contact between the Azerbaijani and Armenian troops.

"We are concerned about the violence that has taken place and the deaths and injuries it has resulted into, and if we are to find a way to lasting peace, we know that violence must stop and the ceasefire must be respected," he added.

The diplomat said he understands that people are frustrated, as the negotiations have been going on for twenty years now.

Warlick noted that the war was devastating for both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

"We don't ever want to see those days return. Negotiations that cover such an important issue are never easy, but as I said before, there is a window of opportunities," Warlick added.

"The time has come to move the negotiations to another level. It's not enough for the presidents to meet on an occasional basis or foreign minister to meet on an occasional basis," he noted.

"There needs to be a more formal negotiating process. And it's up to the parties to determine what that format should be and what that process should be. We are not predetermining an outcome, we are not asking any of the parties to make compromises, we are asking for a process to begin," Warlick underscored.

The diplomat said it is important that the two countries' presidents meet and continue discussions, as the final solution can be achieved only by the heads of states, and the presidents need to be responsible for their decisions.

Warlick said there are no issues that can not be discussed, adding that the OSCE Minsk Group wants to see all the issues discussed at the level of foreign ministers and presidents.

He said the OSCE Minsk Group is working with the parties to achieve a consensus around those 6 main elements, which were discussed at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Warlick said it is clear that this is difficult, but work has to be carried out in this direction.

The diplomat noted that the two countries' presidents clearly need to respect the ceasefire and work hard for the incident that occurred in late July - early August, not to repeat in the future.

Warlick said the parties must respect the ceasefire agreement, because the incidents did not lead to the desirable solution, adding that there must be trust between Armenians and Azerbaijanis to achieve a firm and lasting peace.

In doing so it is possible to progress in the negotiations, he said.

James Warlick also said he did not want to make predictions about what is expected in the meeting between the two presidents in Paris, but it is important that they are able to find solution.

He noted that one of the major problems is the lack of confidence between the two parties, but leaders must meet and do their best to settle the issue.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.

As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The two countries 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 four U.N. Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.