WASHINGTON, DC – ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian offered the following comment following an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Minsk Group CoChairs statement where they noted they were “deeply concerned that there has been no humanitarian access to the crash site of the military helicopter downed by Azerbaijani forces on November 12.”
“We welcome the Minsk Group’s delayed but nonetheless meaningful expression of concern regarding Azerbaijan’s continued obstruction of humanitarian access to allow the recovery of the remains of the crew of the helicopter it shot down on November 12th.”
“We hope that this criticism of Baku – taken in the wake of Ilham Aliyev’s reckless decision to introduce surface-to-air missiles into this conflict – reflects a new willingness on the OSCE’s part to publicly challenge Azerbaijan’s military escalation and openly confront its continued veto of life-saving confidence building measures toward a peaceful resolution, such as the pullback of snipers and the addition of observers along the line of contact.”
On November 12th, Azerbaijani forces escalated their anti-Armenian aggression, using surface-to-air missiles in a fatal attack on an unarmed helicopter flying over Nagorno Karabakh. Constant Azerbaijani shooting surrounding the site of the helicopter crash has prevented international observers and Karabakh authorities to visit the scene, evaluate the situation and secure the return of Major Sergey Sahakyan, Senior Lieutenant Sarkis Nazaryan and Lieutenant Azat Sahakyan, who are presumed perished in the attack. Karabakh authorities have asked the International Red Cross and the OSCE to help mediate, with Azerbaijani actions blocking any progress in that regard.
Following is the full text of the OSCE November 19th statement.
We call on the sides to cease firing in the vicinity of the crash site and facilitate the demining of the area surrounding the site. In the spirit of the Astrakhan statement of October 2010 between the Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia, the Co-Chairs urge Azerbaijan to permit the recovery of the bodies of the victims, and Armenia to cooperate fully with all efforts to resolve this humanitarian situation. We note the presence of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk and his team in the region, and encourage the sides to use his good offices to allow access.
We reaffirm our November 12 statement, reminding the sides of their responsibilities to respect the ceasefire and honor the commitments they made in Sochi, Newport, and Paris to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.