Announces Andrew Sheffer as new OSCE Minks Group US Co-Chair
WASHINGTON—The US Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Richard Hoagland on Wednesday held a news conference during which he presented six main points for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution, reading them to the journalist gathered at the Washington Press Club, reported Voice of America’s Armenian Service.
Below are the key points highlighted by Hoagland.
“In light of Nagorno-Karabakh’s complex history, the sides should commit to determining its final legal status through a mutually agreed and legally binding expression of will in the future. Interim status will be temporary.”
“The area within the boundaries of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region that is not controlled by Baku should be granted an interim status that, at a minimum, provides guarantees for security and self-governance. ”
“The occupied territories surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh should be returned to Azerbaijani control. There can be no settlement without respect for Azerbaijan’s sovereignty, and the recognition that its sovereignty over these territories must be restored.”
“There should be a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh. It must be wide enough to provide secure passage, but it cannot encompass the whole of Lachin district. ”
“An enduring settlement will have to recognize the right of all IDPs and refugees to return to their former places of residence.”
“A settlement must include international security guarantees that would include a peacekeeping operation. There is no scenario in which peace can be assured without a well-designed peacekeeping operation that enjoys the confidence of all sides.”
“The time has come for the sides to commit themselves to peace negotiations, building on the foundation of work done so far. ”
Hoagland said that these are the general policy of international mediators based on the Madrid principles, which are at the center of the negotiations for a resolution to the Karabakh conflict.
“This is a long-term policy, it’s not connected with this or that co-chair. This is our general policy. Of course, the proposed project is more detailed and extensive, but this is the basis of any reasonable solution, and all parties agree on this issue,” said Hoagland.
“Even if they [the parties at the negotiating table] do not agree with the specific points of the proposed program, they still agree to discuss it,” added Hoagland.
He emphasized that the Karabakh conflict did not start with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but rather has been a conflict that has decades, if not centuries of history.
Ambassador Hoagland also announced that he will cease to be the interim Co-Chair on Monday, August 28, adding that Andrew Schofer has been appointed as the permanent US Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group. Schofer has served Charge D’Affaires of the United States Mission to International Organizations.
According to Azatutyun.am, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian on Thursday downplayed the significance of Hoagland’s statement. Armenpress quoted Nalbandian as saying that the U.S. mediator simply reaffirmed what has for years been stated by the three mediating powers.
“The elements voiced by US Co-Chair Richard Hogland do not contain anything new and are a paraphrase of the Madrid principles that have been repeatedly published,” said Artsakh Foreign Minister Karen Mirzoyan when speaking to a reporter on Artsakh TV.
“Our position with respect to such proposals is known and remains unchanged. Any model of the settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict, aimed at ensuring a stable and long-term peace, is impossible without the full participation of the Artsakh party at all stages of the negotiation process and cannot ignore the existing realities,” added Mirzoyan.
“The April war of 2016 clearly demonstrated that approaches, disconnected with reality, are dangerous and can pave the way for unpredictable developments,” explained Mirzoyan.
“Today, first of all, it is necessary to take consistent steps to ensure the irreversibility of the peace process and the implementation of the agreements reached, in particular, on the implementation of mechanisms for investigating cease-fire violations,” said the Artsakh Foreign Minister.
Unrealized agreements become ballast and prevent the possibility of positive change in the negotiations
Artsakh presidential spokesperson David Babayan said Thursday that Artsakh will not be pressured to adopt this package as it is not an ultimatum.
“This [Hoagland’s six points] is the US vision for the Karabakh conflict resolution. In this vision there are two key points, peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict and the fact that the US does not see Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan,”Babayan told the ArmInfo news agency.
“This light rewrite of the highly asymmetrical Madrid Principles – worse in many ways than previous iterations of this reckless proposal – once again front-loads all the rewards on an increasingly aggressive Azerbaijan and all the risks on democratic Artsakh. It’s a non-starter. Sadly, rather than empowering incoming OSCE Minsk Group U.S. Co-Chair Andrew Schofer, the Administration has handicapped him from the start with a fatally flawed framework, one that runs counter to our American values and undermines our national interest in a durable and democratic peace,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.