New OSCE PA Chairman Says Committed to Karabakh Resolution

ASTANA (Combined Sources)–The newly elected chairman of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Joao Suares said during a press conference Friday that he is ready to exert all possible efforts for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“We seek to regulate the issue through joint efforts. As a newly-elected chairman of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, I will exert efforts to use all the existing resources for finding ways towards the resolution of the Karabakh conflict,” Suares said.

The OSCE PA must play a resolute role in this issue, he said at the close of the OSCE’s 17th Parliamentary Assembly in Astana, Kazakhstan.

“I liked the idea of the chairman of the OSCE Alexander Stubb that the OSCE must not only manage the conflicts but also solve the problems and conflicts,” Suares said. “I completely support this idea.”

“I want to point out that I cannot make miracles but we will do everything we can,” he stated.

During the Parliamentary Assembly’s session last week, the OSCE’s Chairman-in-Office Alexander Stubb stated that the Strasbourg based organization is concerned with the situation in the South Caucasus, as it has failed to reach any progress in settling the region’s outstanding conflicts.

“Speaking frankly, we failed to reach any progress in the South Caucasus and I am concerned with the situation in the area,” Stubb said, pointing to the conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and North Ossetia.

Tensions in the South Caucasus have been rising, as Azerbaijan threatens to start a renewed war in the region.

The OSCE’s Minsk Group has been mediating for a settlement the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan since 1997.

Azerbaijan, which is officially on the record as supporting the conflict resolution process within the Minsk Group, has been working in the international community to discredit the Minsk Group and remove the conflict settlement process from its framework.

In recent months, official Baku has used its diplomatic allies to gain recognition for its so-called territorial integrity by a number of international bodies, including the United Nations General Assembly. It has also been raising allegations in the Minsk Group and the Council of Europe against Armenia’s position regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process, claiming that an “Armenian occupation of Azeri lands” hampers the peace process.

The election of a new OSCE PA chairman comes against the backdrop of hardening Azerbaijani threats to reignite a war in the Caucasus. The most recent threat came on June 26 during Azerbaijan’s first military parade in 16 years, where Azeri President Ilham Aliyev announced his intentions to build a military industrial complex that would support a second round war with neighboring Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Any future progress in talks also seems hampered by a document of the basic principles for the settlement process, which was given to the Foreign Minister’s of both countries in Madrid last November. The document, known as the Madrid Principles, fails to address the major issues of the conflict—the security and right to self determination of the Nagorno-Karabakh people.

According to the Madrid principles, negotiations should be founded on a series of fundamental points that require Karabakh to, among other things, relinquish control of seven liberated districts that currently provide a security buffer against an increasingly bellicose Azerbaijan.

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