OSCE special representative's visit to Azerbaijan specified

OSCE special representative's visit to Azerbaijan specified

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 14 / Trend S. Agayeva /

Newly appointed special representative of the OSCE Lithuanian chairmanship on protracted conflicts, Gedryus Chekuolis, will pay his first visit to Azerbaijan onFebruary 21, Lithuanian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Kestutis Kudzsmanastold Trend.

During the current visit he willhold talks with officials and discuss the ways to resolvethe Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Lithuania adopted the annual presidency of the OSCE from Kazakhstan on Jan.1. The Lithuanian authorities announced the resolution of protracted conflicts in the OSCE as one of the priorities of their presidency. South Caucasus countries, namely Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, have been members of the organization since 1992.

Previously, Chekuolis worked in the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry and held the position of coordinator of the Lithuanian government for alliance with NATO. Chekuolis is also co-chair of the Geneva talks on restoring stability in the Georgian conflict. He graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relationsin 1982.

In the South Caucasus, the Nagorno-Karabakh and Georgian-Ossetian conflicts remain unresolved.

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, comprising 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 and the surrounding regions.

Military actions were launched in the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia in August 2008 with Georgian troops entering Tskhinvali and Russian troops later occupying the city, driving the Georgian military back into Georgia.

Georgia's autonomous regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia unilaterally declared independence from Georgia after the Aug. 2008 war. The separatist regions had been supported by Russia, with the country later establishing diplomatic relations with the de facto states despite protests from the West. Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru also recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The dialogue to restore stability in the Georgian breakaway regions is conducted under the Geneva talks, which have been held since October 2008 on the basis of agreements reached after the events in South Ossetia in August 2008.

The Geneva talks are attended by delegations from Georgia, Russia, the United States, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia, as well as representatives from the EU, U.N. and OSCE. The only result of these meetings so far has been a document containing proposals for mechanisms to prevent and resolve incidents in the zone of the Georgian conflict.

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