MAGDALENA FRICHOVA: "UNTIL THE CONFLICT IS NOT SETTLED AND TWO ARMIES CONFRONT EACH OTHER, WE CAN NOT COMPLETELY RULE OUT POSSIBLE RESUMPTION OF FULL-SCALE HOSTILITIES"
March 13 2008
The International Crisis Group is anxious about the violation of
ceasefire on the contact front line which occurred on March 4.
It became the largest armed clash in Nagorno Karabakh since signing
of the ceasefire agreement in 1994.
The due announcement was made by Magdalena Frichova, head of the
Caucasus project of the International Crisis Group.
She said the fact that the sides used artillery in the clash indicates
significant deterioration of the situation on the front line.
"We are confident that there is no alternative to the peaceful
resolution of the conflict and therefore, we call on the sides to
adhere to the ceasefire agreement", she noted.
Asked whether the armed conflict in Nagorno Karabakh is bound to the
post-election political crisis in Armenia, Frichova said both sides
blame each other for initiation of the hostilities.
"Today, it is important to undertake measures to improve the situation
on the front line and to prevent further repetition of such clashes",
Commenting on possible resumption of hostilities in Nagorno Karabakh
in 2008 she said: "Until the conflict is not settled and two armies
confront each other, we can not completely rule out possible resumption
of full-scale hostilities. The repetition of the recent incidents is
too dangerous. The sides should avoid it".
She noted that both Armenia and Azerbaijan focus on internal policy.
"Moreover, it seems that both Armenia and Azerbaijan rely on time,
considering that the military and strategic balance would change in
their favor. This is a negative strategy, which covers the conflict.
At the same time, it allows to say that large-scale hostilities are
not expected in the near future", Frichova noted.
She said the Crisis Group considers it necessary to find position
resolution of the conflict.
"We use our reports to influence the governments of Azerbaijan and
Armenia as well as the communities of these countries and international
community to prove that the cost of timely peace in Nagorno Karabakh is
much lower than the cost of the protracted confrontation", Frichova
Asked what should be done to avoid resumption of hostilities, she
said the sides should respect the ceasefire agreement.
"Armenia and Azerbaijan should realize that resumption of hostilities
may be disastrous for both countries and the whole region. Second,
the OSCE should stiffen its control of the contact front line".