OSCE efforts important in Karabakh conflict de-escalation
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 30
By Anakhanum Hidayatova – Trend:
Efforts of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) were important for the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict de-escalation, said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier reviewing the highlights and challenges of the German OSCE Chairmanship.
According to Steinmeier, OSCE's efforts helped to ease the tensions, following the April armed escalations between the sides. Hopefully, this would open opportunities for talks on a political solution, he said.
Steinmeier further said that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has probably not been in the limelight of the European public for a while, but it came into notice following the April escalation.
On the night of April 2, all the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from the Armenian side, which used large-caliber weapons, mortars and grenade launchers. The firing resulted in deaths and injuries among the Azerbaijani population.
Azerbaijan responded with a counterattack, which led to liberation of several strategic heights and settlements. Military operations were stopped on the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian armies on Apr. 5 at 12:00 (UTC/GMT + 4) with the consent of the sides, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry had said.
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.