BAKU—The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Swiss Foreign Minister, Didier Burkhalter, started his official trip to the South Caucasus on June 2 with a visit to Baku, where he discussed with President llham Aliyev new aspects of co-operation between the OSCE and Azerbaijan, and called for implementing tension-reducing measures regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The visit also included meetings with Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, the Speaker of Parliament Ogtay Asadov and representatives of political parties and the civil society. Speaking about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Burkhalter encouraged President Aliyev to move step by step towards a peaceful settlement. He would welcome intensified negotiations and a subsequent presidential meeting as a starting point of a structured process leading towards a peaceful solution, Burkhalter said.
Burkhalter expressed his regrets that 20 years after the 1994 ceasefire, violent incidents at the “line of contact” and the international border remain a frequent phenomenon. He called on the sides to strictly adhere to the ceasefire agreement, to implement an incident investigation mechanism, to encourage people-to-people contact, and to agree on further confidence-building measures.
Burkhalter reiterated the full support of the Swiss Chairmanship for the work of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and his Personal Representative, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, in facilitating the negotiating process.