Warlick: OSCE Concerned about Increasing Violence, Civilian Deaths

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YEREVAN (A.W.)—The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group is concerned about increasing violence and the use of heavy weaponry on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, according to OSCE Minsk Group United Sates Co-Co-Chair James Warlick.

James Warlick

“We are concerned about these tensions, in particular, the use of heavy weapons, including mortars. We are concerned that this leads to increasing violence, heightened tensions, and civilian deaths,” Warlick told reporters in Yerevan on Oct. 26, reported Public Radio of Armenia.

During Monday’s press conference Warlick stressed that both Armenia and Azerbaijan must respect the terms of the 1994 ceasefire in order to reduce tensions. He also spoke about the possibility of scheduling a summit between the presidents of the two countries before the end of the year.

“Both presidents have committed themselves to an intensified dialogue. They signal that they do want to meet with each other, and we’d like to use this visit as an opportunity to identify the possible dates and begin to make arrangements for the summit,” Warlick was quoted as saying.

Warlick said that although the OSCE does not have working means to conduct constant monitoring of the maintenance of the ceasefire by the parties, and that an independent mechanism of investigating cross-border incidents must be implemented. “We need an investigative mechanism so that we don’t see one side accusing the other and have no bases to know who committed particular acts of violence,” he said.

Minsk Group Co-Chairs Warlick, Igor Popov (Russia), and Pierre Andrieu (France), are currently on a tour of the region and will also visit the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR/Artsakh), according to Davit Babayan, spokesperson for Karabagh President Bako Sahakyan. The Co-Chairs will also be visiting Baku in the coming days.

On Sept. 24, the Minsk Group Co-Chairs together with the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, held a meeting with Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and a separate meeting with Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov on Sept. 25. According to a statement released by the Minsk Group, the delegation also met jointly with Nalbandian and Mammadyarov to “discuss the immediate need to reduce tensions along the Line of Contact and international border, to advance negotiations on a lasting settlement, and to implement confidence-building measures.”

During the meeting, the Co-Chairs called on both the Presidents of Armenia and of Azerbaijan to accept an OSCE mechanism to investigate ceasefire violations.  “Without such a mechanism, the sides will continue to blame each other for initiating deadly attacks on the Line of Contact and Armenia-Azerbaijan border.  Armenia has agreed to discuss the details of the mechanism, and we urged Azerbaijan to do the same,” read a part of the statement released on Sept. 26.

Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: Warlick: OSCE Concerned about Increasing Violence, Civilian Deaths

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