OSCE PA President: It is golden time for peace and security in South Caucasus (UPDATED)
Editor's note: Statements of OSCE Special Representative on the Nagorno-Karabakh were added in the article
Azerbaijan, Baku, March 13 / Trend E.Ostapenko /
It is a golden time to establish a peace and security in the South Caucasus region, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) President Joao Soares believes.
"We are here to promote peace and cooperation in the Caucasus at the parliamentary level," he told journalists at the airport. "We have long cooperated on the political issues and it is time to make decisions."
The negotiations for the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have been held for many years with the OSCE Minsk Group's support. It is time to make decisions, Special Representative on the Nagorno-Karabakh Goran Lennmarker said.
Lennmarker expressed believe in possibility of a peace agreement. He cited numerous meetings of the Presidents and Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia over the past year to move closer to an agreement to resolve the conflict as an example.
OSCE PA delegation led by Soares and Lennmarker arrived in Azerbaijan with a three-day visit March 13.
In the framework of a regional visit, the OSCE PA representatives have visited Georgia, Armenia and they complete it in Azerbaijan. The OSCE PA representatives' negotiations in all three countries relates to the process of resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as well as the situation after the conflict in Georgia in August 2008.
This is Soares's first visit to Azerbaijan as OSCE PA President. Earlier, he visited the country as an observer to the elections.
Soares said the establishment of peace and cooperation was the main purpose of the visits to Armenia and Georgia, and the OSCE PA delegation hopes to continue these discussions in Azerbaijan.
Soares reiterated that a military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is unacceptable. "War and violence should be completely excluded," he said.
All will lose in case of war, Lennmarker added. One has to think about those people, who need peace. They want to return home, see the graves of their ancestors, and they have the right to return, he said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the occupied territories.
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