Russia on Monday voiced concern that the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group are not able to visit Nagorno-Karabakh to continue their mediation efforts for a settlement of the conflict.
“We are concerned by the fact that the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group are still not able to visit the region, familiarize themselves with the situation there and map out steps that will help the parties establish people-to-people contacts and resolve humanitarian and some other issues,” Alexander Lukashevich, the Russia’s permanent representative to the OSCE, told the RIA Novosti agency on Monday.
Before the 2020 war, the co-chairs regularly visited Artsakh and met with Karabakh leaders to coordinate efforts, including the monitoring of the Artsakh-Azerbaijan border, known as the line-of-contact.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said last fall that Azerbaijan was impeding the process of allowing international organizations—among them the Minsk Group co-chairs—to visit Artsakh.
Last week, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev again declared the conflict as resolved and said he and his government will continue efforts to thwart the Minsk Group’s mission, saying that the mediation mechanism has nothing more to do in the region.
Aliyev’s remarks prompted the OSCE’s current chairmanship to voice its complete support to the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
“The Polish Chairmanship is not in the position to comment on the public statements of the President of Azerbaijan. We reiterate our full support and appreciation for the work of the OSCE Minsk Group, its Co-Chairs and the Personal Representative of the Polish OSCE Chair-in-Office Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk,” the Polish OSCE Chairmanship told Armenpress on Tuesday.
It was not the first time Aliyev had made disparaging statements about the mediation mission. Weeks before Azerbaijani forces aggressively attacked Artsakh in September, 2020 Aliyev warned that because the Minsk Group Co-Chairs had failed in their mission, Baku would take matters into its own hands. Yet that threat went unanswered by the Co-Chairs, who have continued to issue statements with the traditional false parity.
The Artsakh government said on Tuesday that Aliyev has been emboldened by the Minsk Group’s silence on the matter.
“This is not the first time he [Aliyev] has mocked the co-chairs—not only mocked but also slandered,” said Artsakh State Minister Artak Beglaryan during a press conference on Tuesday.
“They [the Co-Chairs] should not speak from the position of a mediator, but from the position of an arbiter. Even if Azerbaijan says that the conflict is settled, everyone understands that the situation has only deepened. And all the co-chairs admit that the conflict has not been resolved. If Azerbaijan does not want to establish contact with the international community, then there needs to be unilateral decisions by the international community,” Beglaryan concluded.