Third Armenian-Azerbaijani public peacemaking forum is constructive: expert

Politics Materials 25 March 2009 13:59 (UTC +04:00)
Third Armenian-Azerbaijani public peacemaking forum is constructive: expert

Azerbaijan, Baku, March 25 / Trend , A.Gasimova/

Manager of the International Alert projects for Eurasia region Dessislava Roussanova believes that the third Armenian-Azerbaijani public peacemaking forum to support peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was constructive.

"The discussion was very constructive, the tone was extremely positive. There was a desire among many that this collaboration between civil society and the mediators should become a regular cooperation," the International Alert said.

The Armenian-Azerbaijani Forum titled, "Security: challenges and opportunities, as well as mechanisms to establish trust" is being held under the mediation of International Alert in Vienna on March 24-27. Participants of the forum are Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders of civil society, experts and intellectuals from all sides in the conflict. The forum is also attended by the OSCE Minsk Group Matthew Bryza (U.S.), Bernard Fassier (France) and Yuri Merzlyakov (Russia).

Roussanova said that The three Co-Chairmen had a united message to the Forum - war is not an option. But the Co-Chairmen were there not just to deliver their messages. They were there to listen, to engage in dialogue, and to discuss very frankly with civil society issues and aspects of the Nagorno-Karabakh peacebuiding process and the possible role that civil society could play in it".

The Armenian and Azerbaijani participants discussed their views on challenges and possibilities to increase the level of trust and confidence between the societies involved in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. "The debate was absolutely open. Everybody present was expressing their views. There were some opinions which were far from each other, this was expected. But there were also a lot of shared ideas. The tone of the dialogue was most of the time very constructive, Roussanova, said.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan lost all of Nagorno-Karabakh except for Shusha and Khojali in December 1991. In 1992-93, Armenian armed forces occupied Shusha, Khojali and 7 districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.

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