We are very much hopeful for the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in 2006 - ICG Project Director

We are very much hopeful for the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in 2006 - ICG Project Director

Interview with Ms. Sabina Freizer, Caucasus Project Director of the International Crisis Group

Question: What was the necessity for the development of the second report on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

Answer: The ICG has been published two reports on Nagorno Karabakh conflict. The first was published in September and is called �Nagorno Karabakh viewing to the conflict from the ground and the second was published in October and is called �Nagorno-Karabakh: A Plan for Peace’. We designed two separate reports and the intention was to publish them closely together. Two reports showed two different attitudes on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The first point predominantly focuses on the situation on the ground, how people critically live in Karabakh
, how the displaced persons from Nagorno-Karabakh live in Azerbaijan.

The second report focuses on the negotiations. To explain first how the negotiations have evolved it describes the process since the cease-fire and how especially the Prague-process has evolved since 2004. In order to draft the reports the ICG carried out work in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Question: Did your representatives directly visit the territory under the control of the Armenian armed forces?

Answer: We were able to visit Nagorno Karabakh, Stepanakert and other cities in Nagorno-Karabakh. In addition, we were able to travel to Kelbajar.

Question: What is your attitude towards the negotiation process and how much are you familiar with the details of the talks?

Answer: As I said, the second report describes the Prague Process and the current negotiations. Our understanding and our feeling is that there will be a progress in the talks, especially next year, 2006. And we are very much hopeful that the settlement will be possibly found next year.

Question: The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs stated that only they have a mandate to carry out mediation in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Could you comment on this statement?

Answer: Correct. Currently MG is the int’l group which has a mandate to facilitate the negotiations. Our organization is an NGO. Our intention is to open a discussion on the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. So, our intention is not to participate in the process, but rather to help the public understand the negotiation process and simply to provide information. Of course, the MG is a governmental type of organization. We as NGO have the role to help society understand and participate in broader discussions on resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Question: Why did not you send your proposals to the OSCE Minsk Group, but made public?

Answer: No it’s not true, we have sent our proposals to the OSCE MG

Question: How much support do your proposals gain at the European Union and different international organizations, including the Council of Europe?

Answer: We are in the process now of making our recommendations known to international organizations. A few weeks ago in Brussels I presented our reports and findings to European institutions, including the European Commission and Council. We have also presented them to government officials in London and plan to continue doing so in other European capitals in the coming months. So far our reports have been received with much interest by international decision-makers. As all ICG reports usually are.

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