OSCE Hopeful Karabakh Talks will ‘Step Up’ After Azeri Elections

BAKU (Armenpress)-The Organization for Security and Cooperation is hoping that the Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan will step up after Azerbaijan’s presidential elections in October, the OSCE chairman-in-office’s special envoy Heikki Talvitie said during a press conference in Baku Thursday.

Talvitie stressed the importance of previous meetings between the foreign ministers of Armenian and Azerbaijani and said the two will meet in Moscow on August 1.

"We hope that after the presidential election in Azerbaijan, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan will continue to seek possibilities for engaging in direct dialogue," Talvitie said.

He said it is important that consultations after Azerbaijan’s election continue on the basis of the basic proposals, which were forwarded to both foreign ministers by the OSCE Minsk group’s co-chairs last. He also said any solution should take into account Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.

The Madrid principles call for a gradual resolution to the conflict, which would lead to an Armenian withdrawal from virtually all of the liberated districts surrounding Karabakh. The plan would also allow Karabakh’s population to determine the territory’s status in a future referendum. Official Yerevan has described this peace formula as largely acceptable to the Armenian side. The basic principles, among other things, also calls for the demilitarization of the conflict zone and the deployment of an international peacekeeping force that neither the United Nations, NATO, nor the OSCE have the resources to manage.

Heikki Talvitie downplayed the criticism of peace brokers from the USA, France and Russia’saying their mission is to help the sides hammer out a solution that would satisfy all sides, but not to propose ready solutions.

"We call on the sides to resolve the conflict peacefully," he said, adding that the question of Nagorno-Karabakh’s future political status remains ‘suspended’ for now.

"The peaceful path is the only option that can help find a compromise solution," Talvitie said.

Talvitie’s statemen’s come amid growing tension as Azerbaijan continues to threaten to re-ignite a war in the Caucasus, while working to advance its agenda outside the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group, which has been mediating for a peaceful settlement of the conflict since 1992.

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