OSCE: Recent escalation in Karabakh exposed vulnerability of peace in Europe

OSCE: Recent escalation in Karabakh exposed vulnerability of peace in Europe
# 08 December 2016 09:40 (UTC +04:00)

The military escalation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone this year exposed how vulnerable peace architecture in Europe is, German Foreign Minister, OSCE Chairman-in-Office Frank-Walter Steinmeier told a press conference in Hamburg on Dec. 8.

He stressed the need to intensify efforts to settle the conflicts in the OSCE area.

“The OSCE is doing excellent work to settle the conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh and Ukraine. The OSCE has even sometimes prevented these conflicts from turning into an all-out war,” Steinmeier added.

The 23rd OSCE Ministerial Council will take place on Dec. 8-9 in Hamburg, Germany. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov will take part in the meeting.

One of the conflicts in the OSCE area is the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in 1988.

A fierce war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the war, Armenian armed forces occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory which includes Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts (Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan), and over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced people.

The military operations finally came to an end when Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in Bishkek in 1994.

Dealing with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the OSCE Minsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the CSCE (OSCE after the Budapest summit held in Dec.1994) Ministerial Council in Helsinki on 24 March 1992. The Group’s members include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belarus, Finland and Sweden.

Besides, the OSCE Minsk Group has a co-chairmanship institution, comprised of Russian, the US and French co-chairs, which began operating in 1996.

Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the UN Security Council, which were passed in short intervals in 1993, and other resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, PACE, OSCE, OIC, and other organizations require Armenia to unconditionally withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh.

Nagorno Garabagh