Trends exclusive interview with the special envoy of the OSCE chairman-in-office, Andzey Kasprzyk
Question: After the Paris meeting the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs immediately made a statement that the Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers were proposed to meet in Prague in autumn. Is there any agreement in this respect?
Answer: At present the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, is on a visit, while the Armenian FM is on holiday. Therefore, we cant hold any talks with the sides. At any case, the achievement of an agreement on the meeting of the foreign ministers depends on the interests of the sides. We will shortly discuss this issue as soon as Mammadyarov is back.
Question: Do they prepare a meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents? Did the co-chairs make any proposals in this connection?
Answer: The presidents meet periodically and frequently enough. The Foreign Ministers prepare the meetings of the heads of state. Of course, the dialogue of the Presidents will depend on further developments linked with the coordination of the meeting by the Foreign Ministers. There is no concrete idea on the next round of talks between the Presidents. There is an opinion that some issues should be discussed, while the way and the level of discussions will be discussed by the co-chairs in a meeting with the ministers.
Question: Are the co-chairs expected to hold a private meeting with the ministers?
Answer: Nothing is planned for the time being. I understand that youd like to hear the concrete date, but I cant say. Now it is the period of holidays. However, it does not mean that nothing is being done. The issues discussed in Paris have been passed to sides and now they consider some milestones.
I think we will find the moment and time for the meeting, while they are still to be defined. The co-chairs activities are directed at leading forward the issues which were not mulled. They try to bring closer the positions of the conflict sides. That is their task.
Question: Do you feel proximity in the positions?
Answer: The co-chairs put forward different plans, which could be taken as basis during the talks. The plans were rejected by the sides. The Prague process, within the framework of which the meetings of Ministers and Presidents are held, lasts too long. Though the Presidents precisely retain their positions, considering it important for their countries, no intension of the kind has been observed in the talks earlier.
Question: There is an idea that following the replacement of the U.S. Ambassador at the OSCE Minsk Group other co-chairs will also be replaced. Could it affect on the process of talks?
Answer: There is nothing surprising. It is normal during the carrier of a diplomat. I think it is not inked with the process of negotiations. Every chairman is a personality. The general position is defined by the co-chairs will on leading the process till the end. Replacement of co-chairs means a new stance. The new diplomat might see that which others could not, or simply approach from private prism.
Question: You have developed a report on the results of monitoring held on 3-5 July in the contact line in connection with firing in the occupied territory of Azerbaijan. In what stage the question is?
Answer: At the request of the Azerbaijani side, I held a 3-day monitoring in several places. Fires in the contact line are not something unusual. Every year I observe over the fired sections. But this time Azerbaijan prepared and submitted a very comprehensive document for 2006. Besides I can assert that the spread of fires, taking into cooperation the climatic conditions this year, is larger than the usual. The figure concerns the regions, which are located not too far from the contact line, but no economic activities are conducted here. Besides the northern section, the fire also touched the outskirts of Agdam. If fires reach any agricultural sections, it is possible to think over cooperation in order to keep it under control.
The report has been submitted to the conflict sides and the OSCE member-states. At present I am waiting for data on further activities. If any of the sides put forward requirements, we will take measures. The process is also hindered in the holiday period.
Question: When do you plan to hold the next monitoring?
Answer: Usually, we hold two monitoring a month. My team is comprised of 5 people and two of them are on holiday at present. As soon as they return [it will occur in late this August], I will be able to hold a next-in-turn monitoring. In September it is planned to conduct two monitoring more.
Question: Do you have any data on the injured and killed in the frontline as a result of armistice breach?
Answer: Usually the sides inform me about the victims and the injured. Such cases were relatively more when I came to the region in 1996. Even then I told the Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosian that as of the estimations of mine, the number of the victims and injured from every side reaches 200 people. Afterwards, thanks to the political will, it was possible to maintain the ceasefire regime and my office played a considerable role in it. The cases of the violation of ceasefire regime decrease every year. From time to time shooting is heard in the definite sections due to different reasons. Sometimes even the officers find difficult to halt the shooting, especially when someone suffers. In these conditions my monitoring is very helpful. My tour disciplines everyone.
At the moment it is more or less stable in the contact line. During every visit to Baku, Yerevan and Karabakh I hold talks. I put every effort to notify the officers and soldiers that no firing is allowed.
Question: What are the data for the year?
Answer: In the beginning of the year the situation was so tense, but in the end of May it stabilized. I think, this year the injured and the killed from both sides is around 20 people.
Question: Do the armistice breaches in the frontline impact on the negotiations?
Answer: The violation of the ceasefire regime might hurt the talks. If there is complication in the contact line and too many injured, it will reflect in the mood of the population and affect the negotiations. In this case it is very difficult to make a compromise.