TODAY.AZ / Politics

International mediation efforts still fail to address Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

14 November 2017 [15:15] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Rashid Shirinov

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains a major stumbling block for Azerbaijan, which is developing rapidly, participates in large-scale international projects and has even bigger plans for the future. This is the very problem that has been awaiting for its resolution for more than 20 years.

The history of this Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict is long known – Armenia broke out a lengthy war by making territorial claims on Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region in late 1980s. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities resulted from Armenian aggression. The terrible war was stopped in 1994 through signing a ceasefire, whilst 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s lands – Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions – remain under the Armenian occupation.

Since a peaceful resolution of the conflict by Armenia and Azerbaijan themselves was not seen as possible, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) created the Minsk Group. Beginning from 1994, the MG has been working to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Unfortunately, for more than 20 years of its activity, the co-chair countries of the Minsk Group (Russia, France and the U.S.) did not manage to achieve any major progress is the conflict resolution. The presidents of the conflicting countries meet rarely, and this, of course, delays the settlement of the problem.

Meanwhile, Armenia, seeing that it remains unpunished for occupation of Azerbaijani lands, continues to preserve the status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as daily violates the ceasefire with Azerbaijan, which occasionally results in deaths of Azerbaijani soldiers and civilians. However, no major international organization, including the Minsk Group of the OSCE, put pressure on Armenia for such behavior – this is another factor why the conflict is still unresolved.

Many experts and officials in Azerbaijan think that the MG cannot fully meet its responsibilities. Vice Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament Bahar Muradova is of the same opinion.

"It looks like the OSCE Minsk Group is busy fulfilling its mission, since much is said about the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, numerous trips and meetings are organized, however, if one evaluates the results of the group’s activity, for sure it cannot be considered satisfactory," she told Trend on November 13.

Muradova stressed that if no concrete result is achieved in the conflict settlement, Azerbaijan will naturally be dissatisfied with the activity of the MG co-chairs.

“Therefore, the Azerbaijani delegation to the OSCE PA once more specifically expressed its position at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council,” she added.

During a regular meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, the Azerbaijani delegation noted that Azerbaijan expects the Minsk Group co-chairs to take effective steps to intensify the negotiations on settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Azerbaijan has always noted its readiness to resolve the conflict by peaceful negotiations. Therefore, the country's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov meets with the MG co-chairs and maintains regular contacts with them. Their next meeting will be held in Moscow on November 16, and it is obviously aimed at intensification of the negotiation process.

However, Armenia is not interested in negotiations, as the country's main goal is to maintain the status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh. It seems that Armenia, which illegally remains in Azerbaijani territory for more than two decades, is going to leave them only if Azerbaijan starts returning its lands by military means. In this context, the international community and especially the Minsk Group should eventually put pressure on Armenia and make the aggressor country join constructive peace talks with Azerbaijan.


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