The OSCE Secretary General, Lamberto Zannier, on an official visit to Armenia today, stressed the importance of strict observance of the ceasefire on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan and on the Line of Contact as a prerequisite for reaching a peaceful solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and pledged the OSCE’s continued support to Armenia in its reforms.
Zannier said the OSCE fully supported the process facilitated by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the efforts of the OSCE Chairperson’s Personal Representative in negotiating a peaceful settlement of the conflict and voiced his concern at the developments on the Line of Contact and on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, especially the targeting of civilians living close to the front lines.
“There is a clear need to immediately implement measures that would stabilize the worrying situation and prevent the unacceptable further loss of lives,” he said after his meeting with Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan. “It is essential for both sides to abstain from retaliatory measures that would lead to further escalation and to remove snipers from the Line of Contact – this is the message I also delivered in Baku.”
Zannier stressed that promoting confidence-building measures, including people-to-people contacts, between the conflict sides, as agreed by the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Sochi, was a priority for the OSCE.
The Secretary General said that the 20 years of Armenia’s participation in the CSCE/OSCE marked this year was “an important milestone” and welcomed the reform path that the country had embarked on.
“The OSCE stands ready to fully support the country in its profound regulatory, economic, police, judicial, and democratic reforms, including through the OSCE Office in Yerevan which has been closely involved in the reform process,” he said.
Welcoming the peaceful conduct of the parliamentary elections of 6 May, Zannier also emphasized the importance of addressing in a timely manner the shortcomings identified by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights’ Election Observation Mission, ahead of next year’s presidential elections, in order to “help enhance general confidence in the process”.
During his visit, the Secretary General will also meet President Serzh Sargsyan and the Speaker of the National Assembly Hovik Abrahamyan.
The visit to Yerevan completes the trip of the Secretary General to the South Caucasus that started in Baku on 8 and 9 July, followed by a visit to Tbilisi from 9 to 11 July.