OSCE Council Calls for Compromise on Karabakh

Oskanian asserts Karabakh historical integrity–blasts Azerbaijan for smear campaign.

BUCHAREST (Noyan Tapan)–Foreign Ministers of OSCE countries expressed their deep concern over conflicts plaguing member-states–including the Karabakh conflict–stating that "although the OSCE Minsk group conducted meetings between the sides to the conflict–a peaceful settlement to the Karabakh conflict still could not be reached," announced the OSCE Ministers.

According to Kavkazpress news agency–this announcement was a part of the OSCE statement published in Bucharest. The OSCE Council of Ministers also emphasized the urgent need to continue negotiations and called on the conflicting sides to reach a resolution based on international law as soon as possible.

"We appreciate both countries’ commitment to the preservation of the cease-fire and to the pursuit of a peaceful solution. We ask that both sides continue efforts aimed at reaching a justified and affective resolution," said the OSCE Council of Ministers statement.

In his statement to the Council of Ministers–Armenia’s foreign minister Vartan Oskanian addressed the Karabakh conflict resolution issue and blasted Azerbaijan for its anti-Armenian propaganda–especially when it came to recent international calls to combat terrorism.

Below are excerpts from Oskanian’s statement"

"No amount of ambiguous diplomatic language can mask the fact that the men–women and children of Nagorno Karabakh have earned the right to live peacefully on their historic lands–free of alien domination and foreign occupation. Nagorno Karabakh’s secession from Soviet Azerbaijan was both legal–peaceful–and just. During the twilight of a crumbling Soviet Union–a population long oppressed–its rights systematically denied–sought redress. Just as Azerbaijan was no longer willing to accept the Soviet legacy–and withdrew from the Union–Nagorno Karabakh was no longer willing to live under conditions imposed arbitrarily by Stalin decades earlier. The resistance of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to arbitrary and repressive measures brought about further repression and an attempt at military suppression of their legitimate desire and actions for self-defense and self-protection. The present stalemate is the consequence of the war that followed. An uneven battle pitted a state trying to reimpose its rule and its sovereignty over a people who refuse to resubjugate themselves to the authority of those they do not trust.

"Azerbaijan’s claim on Nagorno Karabakh has been legally invalid. Its absolute and blind adherence to the principle of territorial integrity will do it no good–since Nagorno Karabakh has never been a part of independent Azerbaijan. The League of Nations did not accept Azerbaijan’s territorial claims then–we do not accept them now. Its claim of sovereignty over the people of Nagorno Karabakh–too–is morally invalid. For decades–it denied them basic social and economic rights–and attacked them violently and repeatedly.

"Here lie the difficulties of the negotiation process. Here lie the difficulties confronting the co-Chairs of the Minsk Group in their relentless – and much appreciated – efforts to push the process forward. Here lies the logic of confidence building measures in the latest phase of stalled negotiations–since once more this year–confidence and trust seem to be the main victims of the seesaw of Azerbaijan’s positions and ambivalence about peace and the temptations of war.

"Those changing positions–undependable at best–are reflected in the documen’s produced – and not produced – at this meeting. The final statement (which–by the way–we still cannot be sure will be adopted) is significant–as it stands–not so much for what it includes–but for what is left out. Its limited scope–and its questionable fate–is the result of Azerbaijan’s unwillingness to sanction the basic–fundamental premise of mutual compromise. So short is Azerbaijan’s memory and so shallow its commitment to peace–that it is even unwilling to accept any reference to the Paris and Key West meetings in this statement. Mr. Chairman–what are we to understand if Azerbaijan can not acknowledge the last round of negotiations as a stepping stone to the next round? If our negotiating partner cannot make room for compromise on paper–how are we to expect that it can create it on the ground?

"Azerbaijan’s revisionism is rampant as it applies labels–invents numbers–creates history–confuses discussion–redefines terms and manufactures charges. It is to address these accusations that the democratically re-elected President of Nagorno Karabakh has issued a blanket invitation to those who wish to assess the veracity of Azerbaijan’s unfounded accusations for the purposes of propaganda. His letter has been made available to you.

"We must also avoid the subversion of this opportunity by Azerbaijan and others who believe that the battle against terrorism allows them to wear the mantle of aggrieved victims of terrorists–hence entitled to one-sided compensation. Such delusions make realistic compromises hard to achieve. The international community and the OSCE most particularly–must try hard not to encourage this kind of fiction. Most of the conflicts that have confronted the OSCE in the last decade–have had their share of old–enduring–national myths in fueling animosity and hostility. It would be a pity–if present–tragic circumstances were to carelessly contribute to the manufacture of new myths and self styled martyrs."

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