Mediators Again Fail to Condemn Baku’s Aggression
In a fresh announcement on Saturday, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs called for resumption of Karabakh settlement talks, but also, without specificity, said recent statements criticizing their joint efforts or seeking “unilateral changes’ to the settlement process “are not conducive” to “constructive dialogue.”
“The Co-Chairs note that recent public statements criticizing the joint efforts of the co-chairing countries, and/or seeking unilaterally to establish new ‘conditions’ or changes to the settlement process format are not conducive to resuming a constructive dialogue,” said the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Igor Popov of Russia, Stéphane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the U.S. and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office (PRCIO) Andrzej Kasprzyk in a statement.
One can surmise that Co-Chairs’ warning was meant for Azerbaijan, whose president, Ilham Aliyev, on numerous occasions this month, has criticized the international mediators efforts calling them “meaningless” and has questioned their assessment that the Karabakh conflict cannot be resolved by military force, threatening to end the negotiations. Aliyev also pledged that Baku will do whatever it takes to not only “liberate” Artsakh but also Armenia, which he calls ancient Azerbaijani lands.
Less than a week after he challenged the Minsk Group Co-Chairs, Azerbaijani forces launched a brazen attack on Armenia’s Tavush Province making several failed efforts to capture the Anvakh military outpost at the Armenia-Azerbaijan border.
Yet the Co-Chairs, once again, failed to call a spade and spade, and employed their usual false parity in addressing Azerbaijan’s serious breach of not only the ceasefire but also the sovereign borders of Armenia.
The mediators welcomed the relative stability along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and appealed to the sides to take advantage of this and prepare for “serious negotiations.”
“The Co-Chairs stress once more that refraining from provocative statements and actions, including threats or perceived threats to civilians or to critical infrastructure, is essential during this delicate period,” said the Co-Chairs and PRICO.
“The Co-Chairs and PRCIO express appreciation for the strong engagement by leaders of international organizations including the United Nations, OSCE, and European Union, whose calls for strict adherence to the ceasefire and renewed dialogue under the auspices of the Co-Chairs have aligned with and supported the Co-Chairs’ own intensive mediation efforts. We note as especially positive the impartiality of such interventions, which have urged the sides to focus on reducing tensions rather than on assigning to others the sole responsibility of causing the recent escalation. The Co-Chairs welcome the growing international consensus calling for de-escalation and a swift return to negotiations in good faith without conditions,” added the mediators.
“The Co-Chairs are prepared to meet with the leaders or their designees at any time. The Co-Chairs also emphasize that OSCE monitors should return to the region as soon as possible,” said the mediators. “The Co-Chairs reiterate that political will to achieve a lasting peaceful settlement is best demonstrated by refraining from maximalist positions, adhering strictly to the ceasefire, and abstaining from provocative statements and actions.”