U.S. Diplomat Says Status Quo in Respect of Karabakh Conflict ‘Unacceptable’
The United States welcomes the joint statement by the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan following the October 16 summit organized by the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group in Geneva, Harry Kamian, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. mission to the OSCE said in a meeting at the OSCE Permanent Council with the Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, APA reported.
“We are pleased that the presidents agreed to take urgently needed measures to reduce tensions along the Line of Contact, and we encourage the sides to build on this positive momentum and refrain from mutual accusations and recriminations.”
Kamian stressed that the U.S. calls on the sides to implement the measures agreed upon at the summits in Vienna and St. Petersburg in May and June 2016, respectively, and also encourages the sides to work on the proposal to establish an OSCE investigative mechanism.
The American diplomat added his country also supports confidence-building measures and increased dialogue between Armenians and Azerbaijanis that can help stabilize the security situation and create a more constructive atmosphere for negotiations.
“Those participating in dialogue must be able to do so freely, without fear of harassment when they return home.”
In the end, Kamian pointed out that the U.S. shares the frustration of the sides that this conflict has indeed gone on far too long, and believes the status quo is unacceptable.
“At the same time, we all agree that there can be no military solution to the conflict. As a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the U.S. remains deeply committed to working with the sides to find a lasting and peaceful resolution to the conflict, one based on the principles shared by participating States of non-use of force, territorial integrity, and equal rights and self-determination, as embraced in the Helsinki Final Act,” he concluded.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in 1988.
A fierce war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the war, Armenian armed forces occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory which includes Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts (Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan), and over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced people.
The military operations finally came to an end when Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in Bishkek in 1994.
Dealing with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the OSCE Minsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the CSCE (OSCE after the Budapest summit held in December 1994) Ministerial Council in Helsinki on 24 March 1992. The Group’s members include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belarus, Finland and Sweden.
Besides, the OSCE Minsk Group has a co-chairmanship institution, comprised of Russian, the US and French co-chairs, which began operating in 1996.
Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the UN Security Council, which were passed in short intervals in 1993, and other resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, PACE, OSCE, OIC, and other organizations require Armenia to unconditionally withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh.
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