Brussels, 19 June 2012 - On 18 June 2012, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs met together with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Paris. European Friends of Armenia (www.EuFoA.org) shares the disappointment and recommendations issued yesterday by the three Co-Chairing Presidents at the G20 summit in Los Cabos (Mexico).
In particular we regret that Azerbaijan continues blocking the key confidence building measures, i.e. the establishment of an investigation mechanism for incidents on the line of contact, the removal of snipers and promotion of people to people contacts. The on-going snail pace escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict brings dramatic risks for the entire South-Caucasus region, as well as for the Middle East and Europe. The following facts summarise the situation:
- Tensions have more and more moved away from smaller sniper incidents to artillery shelling and incursions on the other side
- Azerbaijan has made a number of attacks on mainland Armenia with military and civilian casualties (targets included an ambulance and a kindergarten). Azeri media justified this with “preventing provocations on the Armenian side”
- There is no perspective for confidence building, amid last week’s and yesterday’s refusal by Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Mammadyarov to implement OSCE calls for the removal of snipers and an investigation mechanism for incidents on the line of contact. (see details below)
- War threats from Azerbaijan’s President Aliyev and his administration are continuing
- On 25-27 June, Armenia will simulate a general mobilisation for the defence case of a full-scale war.
“Ignoring the Presidents’ agreement of Sochi, Azerbaijan now conditions every progress on the removal of troops. For good reasons, the Madrid Principles proposed by the Minsk-Group foresee a troop removal in the very specific context of the other parts of the package, ensuring that there would be no vacuum of power and security, but an interim status guarded by international troops and guarantees. To pre-condition all confidence building measures to a unilateral removal of troops is more than cynical and effectively means that Baku simply refuses all the diplomatic steps proposed by the OSCE. This maximalist approach means further escalation.”concludes Dr Michael Kambeck, EuFoA Secretary General. “A new war would come at insane costs to all sides, and would certainly destroy the Azerbaijani petro-industry, the source of Azerbaijan’s wealth and defence budget. This may seem irrational but it is consistent, also with the highly aggressive speeches of President Aliyev addressing international audiences.”
EuFoA repeats its call upon the EU and other international actors to stop “calls upon both sides” and instead to specify more clearly which actions are expected from each side, as otherwise the respective sources of the problems are encouraged to continue their dangerous behaviour. The sides should also be commended individually for positive steps and initiatives. This will assist a more result oriented negotiation under the OSCE Minsk Group mediation. It is a perverted interpretation of impartiality to call upon both sides, when some problems clearly originate from this or the other side.
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