Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 30
By Elchin Mehdiyev – Trend:
The very fact of the increased number of observers, people who monitor the ceasefire and provide credible information about the situation on the ground is a sign of the renewed interest and concern over the developments in the zone of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Natalia Mirimanova, expert in international conflict resolution, told Trend.
Mirimanova was commenting on the anticipated expansion of the Office of Andrzej Kasprzyk, the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“I hope that the expanded team of Andrzej Kasprzyk will not only do more of the same work, but consider playing a more active role as an intermediary – not necessarily a mediator, but a facilitator of information exchange on the issues of mutual concern and potential hazard, first and foremost for the civilian population,” Mirimanova noted.
She also pointed out the idea for upgraded technical coordination between the designated military across the contact line, including systems of early warning and prevention of military escalation.
“This confidence building measure has been discussed at times, but never materialized yet. Perhaps now is the time to re-open this discussion,” the expert said.
Speaking of the OSCE Minsk Group, led by the co-chairs from Russia, the U.S. and France, Mirimanova noted that it has not been very effective in moving forward either component.
Touching upon actions that should be taken to intensify the negotiation process on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution, the expert pointed out the Madrid principles, calling them, in general, a good departure point.
The principles stipulate a gradual settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In particular, they envisage the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied areas adjacent to the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, provision of an interim status for the region and future determination of its final legal status. Moreover, all internally displaced persons and refugees, who account for more than a million of Azerbaijan’s population, should return to their former places of residence, according to the Madrid principles.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.