Austria ready to support Karabakh conflict’s peaceful settlement
Austria, as a future co-chair of the OSCE, stands ready to support Armenia and Azerbaijan in their search for a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sebastian Kurz said in an interview with Armenpress Armenian news agency published on its website Nov. 21.
Austria will take over the OSCE chairmanship in January 2017.
“It is probably too early to speak about concrete initiatives [for the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict] – a lot will depend on the developments in the region,” Kurz said. “ Vienna was the venue for the Presidential summit [the meeting of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev] in May this year, and we are always happy to host negotiations again if there is a wish. We are not members of the [OSCE] Minsk Group, but we will do our best to support the Minsk Process.”
Answering the question what prospects he sees for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as acting chairman of the OSCE, Kurz said that “there exists no military solution to this conflict, and all parties involved should do their utmost to cooperate, establish trust and dialogue, and to focus on diplomacy rather than military action.”
“Another outbreak of violence would be fatal and the international community is not in favor of that, everyone – from Moscow to Washington – is clear on this issue,” he added. “A number of proposals to help establish peace have been on the table for some time already, and a few ideas for confidence-building measures have been established more recently that are awaiting their implementation.”
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 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.