BAKU (Panorama)—Peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is of great importance for the entire region, the OSCE Minsk Group’s U.S. co-chair James Warlick said in Baku on October 28, Trend news agency reports.
“We must achieve peace for future generations. Peace will bring benefit to both peoples. The peoples of Armenia and Azerbaijan should establish contacts to get to know each other,” Warlick said. He noted that he does not understand the criticism levied against the OSCE Minks Group’s co-chairs, and added that the co-chairs are doing everything they can to solve the conflict.
According to APA news agency, Warlick said that the OSCE Minsk Group and OSCE monitoring group were at the line of contact of Azerbaijani and Armenian troops on October 27.
“If before we had questions as how dangerous this situation was, I can now tell you from my experience that the situation is awful,” Warlick said. According to him, the ceasefire regime must be respected. Warlick also noted that there is a need to find a lasting peaceful solution to the conflict.
“I was in a safe place with the co-chairs. However, two OSCE members were in a dangerous place and were looking for a place to hide. I am glad no one was injured. Such incidents are unacceptable,” Warlick said.
According to him, both sides are tired of the confrontation, which has lasted more than 20 years. “A comprehensive settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is important in terms of ensuring the security of both the Armenian and Azerbaijani peoples,” Warlick said. He further expressed hope that the day will come when the peoples of the region will live in peace and harmony.
Next, Warlick added that the OSCE Minsk Group met with the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents expressed their willingness to meet before the end of this year. The co-chairs are working on the details of the meeting, Warlick said.
“The presidents must discuss the constant ceasefire violations on the contact line and ways to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the conflict. Today’s situation is completely different from the situation two years ago. For the first time, we have witnessed the use of heavy artillery on the contact line. The tension is increasing day by day. During their meeting, both presidents must discuss the escalation of the tension on the contact line. We also need to discuss the strengthening of confidence-building measures and establishment of the dialogue between the communities,” he added.
The co-chair also highlighted that the settlement of the conflict will open a new stage and contribute to the development of the region. “The peoples living in the South Caucasus had hard times. I hope that the settlement of the conflict will contribute to the progress of both peoples. I think, in this point, we owe a stable future for further generations. Contacts should be established between the two peoples, and they have to learn to live side by side in the future,” he added.
The OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs were on a visit to Baku on October 28. During their meeting with the leaders of the so-called Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh, Warlick said that the younger generation of the conflicting parties has had no opportunity to get to know each other. According to him, one of purposes of the OSCE Minsk Group is to present such information to both sides. He added that the OSCE Minsk Group also got acquainted with Armenians who do not consider Azerbaijan an enemy.
Earlier, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs visited Yerevan and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. In Yerevan, they met with President Serzh Sarkisian and discussed the current stage of talks on the peaceful settlement to the conflict and further steps. The President of Nagorno-Karabakh, Bako Sahakyan, also received the Co-chairs on October 27. Issues related to the situation on the borders and settlement of the conflict were addressed at the meeting.
The OSCE Minsk Group and the monitoring group were on the contact line on October 27. Near the end of the monitoring exercise, shots were fired from automatic weapons on the Azerbaijani side. “During our line of contact crossing, repeated gunfire forced OSCE monitors to take cover. This is unacceptable,” wrote U.S. Co-chair Warlick on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.