NAGORNO KARABAKH CONFLICT SETTLEMENT OSCE MG CO-CHAIRS CALL FOR ARMENIAN AND AZERI PRESIDENTS TO EXPRESS POLITICAL WILL
AZG Armenian Daily
Taking into account recent speculation about the basic principles
for a peaceful settlement of the NK conflict proposed to both parties
by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs, it is necessary to make the following
clarification.On June 22 the Minsk Group Co-Chairs reported to the OSCE
Permanent Council on the results of the past months of negotiations
between the sides on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.They reported on
their intensive mediation activities over the past seven months aimed
at achieving agreement on the basic principles for a settlement. These
included three visits of the Co-Chairs to Baku and Yerevan, three
times together and several more times separately, two meetings of
the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Azerbaijan, and two
summits between Presidents Kocharian and Aliyev, first in Rambouillet
in February and then in Bucharest in early June.
In addition, a joint Mission of Representatives of the Co-Chair
countries at the Deputy Foreign Minister level traveled to the region
in May. Throughout their mediation efforts, the Co-Chairs stressed, as
always, the belief of their nations and of the international community
that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can be resolved in no other way than
a peaceful one. They also stressed the need for the leaders of Armenia
and Azerbaijan to prepare their publics for peace and not for war.
The mediation efforts of the Co-Chairs resulted in the proposal
to Presidents Aliyev and Kocharian of a set of fair, balanced, and
workable core principles that could pave the way for the two sides to
draft a far-reaching settlement agreement. The principles are based
on the redeployment of Armenian troops from Azerbaijani territories
around Nagorno- Karabakh, with special modalities for Kelbajar and
Lachin districts (including a corridor between Armenia and Nagorno-
Karabakh), demilitarization of those territories, and a referendum or
population vote at a date and in a manner to be decided through further
negotations to determine the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Deployment of an international peacekeeping force and a joint
commission for implementation of the agreement would be established,
and international assistance would be made available for demining,
reconstruction, and resettlement of internally displaced persons in
the formerly occupied territories and the war-affected regions of
Nagorno-Karabakh. Certain interim arrangements for Nagorno-Karabakh
would allow for interaction with providers of international assistance.
The sides would renounce the use or threat of use of force, and
international and bilateral security guarantees and assurances would
be put in place.
Regarding the vote to determine the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh,
the Co-Chairs stressed that suitable pre-conditions for such a vote
would have to be achieved so that the vote would take place in a
non-coercive environment in which well-informed citizens have had
ample opportunity to consider their positions after a vigorous debate
in the public arena.
Unfortunately, at their most recent meeting in Bucharest the Presidents
did not reach agreement on these principles. The Co-Chairs continue
to believe that the proposals developed through the past two years of
negotiations hold the best potential for achieving a just and lasting
settlement of the conflict.
They strongly believe that it is now time for the two Presidents to
take the initiative for achieving a breakthrough in the settlement
process based on these principles, and they stand ready to assist the
parties to conclude an agreement if the Presidents indicate they are
prepared to do so. Although no additional meetings between the sides
under the auspices of the Co-Chairs are planned for the immediate
future, they will be ready to reengage if the parties decide to pursue
the talks with the political will that has thus far been lacking.