OSCE Reiterates Calls for Sniper Withdrawal
YEREVAN—The Secretary-General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe reiterated the imperative for withdrawal of snipers by both Armenian and Azeri troops from the bordering regions.
“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,” said OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier speaking to reporters after meeting with Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian in Yerevan Thursday.
“There is a clear need to immediately implement measures that would stabilize the worryisome situation and prevent the unacceptable further loss of lives,” he added.
Zannier also 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.
The Secretary General 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 resolution 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.
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 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,” said Zannier.
“There is no alternative to negotiations and Armenia will continue its efforts towards rapid resolution of the Karabakh issue,” Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said at a joint press conference with OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier.
At the same press conference, Nalbandian said that despite the Minsk Group co-chairmen’s calls to refrain further aggravating matters, “the Azerbaijani leadership says that they are not going to make any concessions. The recent Los Cabos statement makes it clear that there is no alternative to negotiations, peaceful settlement and that use of force will not produce any results. A week later Azerbaijan declares it’s going to buy more weapons.”
“Azerbaijan says they do not need mechanisms to investigate the border incidents and refuse to move back the snipers,” added Nalbandian saying Armenia’s position coincides with that of the international community.