Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 24
By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:
The OSCE Minsk Group's statement over the Armenian military helicopter shot down over the occupied territory of Azerbaijan can undermine the credibility of the group in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement, European Policy Centre, Policy Analyst and Senior Programme Executive, Amanda Paul told Trend.
"The words shape minds and opinions, and unfortunately the OSCE statement has given the wrong impression to Azerbaijani's which risks undermining the credibility of the group further at a time when the Minsk Group ability to manage this conflict more broadly is increasingly being questioned," she said.
Previously, the OSCE Minsk Group made a statement on the Armenian military helicopter shot down over the occupied Azerbaijani territories. It called the helicopter crash site as the "neutral territory". Azerbaijani officials expressed protest saying that using the "neutral territory" expression by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs in their statement is unacceptable.
Later, OSCE Minsk Group has changed the name of the territory where the wreckage of the helicopter lies, from "neutral" to "no man's" land.
"Despite the fact that the helicopter crashed on Azerbaijani occupied land, this stretch of territory has been defined as a "no man's land", the buffer zone in which no troops from either side are stationed, hence the Minsk Group's labelling it neutral," she said.
"But obviously there is no "neutral" territory in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone and this is something that was underlined a couple of days ago by U.S. Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group James Warlick," she said.
She said that the OSCE Minsk Group, as a mediator in the conflict, always wants to send careful messages and chooses its words to that end.
An Armenian Mi-24 military helicopter flying 1,700 meters northeast of the Kengerli village of Azerbaijan's Aghdam district attacked the Azerbaijani army positions on Nov. 12. The helicopter was shot down by the Azerbaijani side.
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 US are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
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