Italy’s position on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has always been very equilibrated, Italian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Augusto Massari told APA.
“We have been equidistant to maintain a moderate position. We will continue to do so also during the OSCE Chairmanship, pursuing political dialogue,” said the envoy.
He also underlined OSCE’s important role in the settlement of the ongoing conflicts in Europe, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The ambassador recalled that Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelino Alfano introduced the priorities of his country’s OSCE chairmanship in Vienna on January 11 and mentioned the protracted Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Referring to last week’s meeting in Krakow between the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers with the participation of the Minsk Group co-chairs, Ambassador Massari said the fact that the conflict has been going on for more than 25 years is a very heavy problem.
“Recently UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stressed that the Minsk Group should take a proactive and dynamic approach in order to facilitate the settlement process. The co-chairs have been working in this direction for many years, and Italy hopes that their efforts will produce benefits. Italy will try to contribute to those efforts. We are confident that everybody wants to work for reconciliation. Italy has had some experience in conflict mediation in other areas of the world and experience tells us that we should work on what units the two parties in the conflict rather than what divides them,” he said.
“My country has always been a country willing and able to listen to anybody, to dialogue with anybody, with no prejudice. This is the way to follow: political dialogue, respecting the principles of the UN, the Helsinki Final Act and the Madrid principles with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group,” added the envoy.
According to Massari, the latest progress in the settlement process is positive.
“The increase of meetings between the two parties, in different formats, is significant because if you talk there is a possibility for reconciliation. If you do not talk, there is no chance,” he said.
Asked about a possible visit to the region of OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, the ambassador said that it is impossible to predict future visits due to the [general] election to be held in Italy in March 2018.
“We have to wait for the March election to determine the visits. New parliament will be elected, new government will be established. The visit of the Italian Foreign Minister to Azerbaijan till March is likely to be impossible. If there is a new parliament, then there is a new government. If there is a new government, the ministers can be changed. I don’t know whether Alfano will again become Italy’s Foreign Minister after the election. It’s difficult to predict anything,” added the ambassador.