Baku, December 3, AZERTAC
Azerbaijan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov has addressed the 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Belgrade.
“There is a broad understanding that streamlining the work of the OSCE, as we mark the 40th anniversary of the ever-relevant Helsinki Final Act, requires more than just reaffirming the principles. It should include practical measures to ensure that participating States strictly comply with their obligations and commitments. We believe that there is no contradiction or conflict between the principles, as some assert. The drafting history of the Final Act clearly demonstrates a consensus among the participating States on the need to put the obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against territorial integrity and internationally recognized borders at the core of the comprehensive concept of security to maintain peace on the European continent. This remains the main thrust of the Final Act.
The inherent balance of three dimensions of OSCE’s comprehensive security is undermined today. Prevailing attempts to misuse the human dimension as a tool of pressure have only aggravated the crisis of trust within the OSCE. Ignorance to violations of mandates and serious deficiencies in activities of the OSCE executive structures and field presences question their relevance. If a participating State flags a serious violation of the mandate by an executive structure, such a case should be addressed and resolved for the interests of the OSCE.”
“In this context, I would like to refer specifically to the situation emerged as a result of the refusal by the OSCE/ODIHR to cooperate with the participating State requesting its assistance with regard to the elections. Such a violation by the OSCE institution of its mandate cannot go without seriously undermining the prospects of our future cooperation with the ODIHR. In this connection, we are of the strong view that this situation must be addressed and proper procedures should be put in place to prevent re-occurrence of such incidents in the future. I encourage the Ministerial Council to seriously consider the proposal put forward by our Delegation,” he said.
“The protracted conflicts in the OSCE area remain the major threat and challenge to peace and security on the European continent. I regret to inform the Ministerial Council that no substantive progress has been achieved in the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict since the last Ministerial Council meeting in Basel. Armenia continues to disregard the calls of the international community, including the Presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries to start result-oriented negotiations on a peace agreement. The leadership of Armenia imitates the engagement with a view to consolidating the volatile status-quo created through the unlawful use of force and ethnic cleansing.”
The FM said: “So-called “balanced” or undifferentiated attitude to the aggressor and the victim will never produce a desired outcome. The policy of appeasement only emboldens the aggressor. As an example, I need to mention the ongoing efforts by Armenia towards consolidating the occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan through implantation of settlers, infrastructure changes, as well as exploitation of and illicit trade in assets, natural resources and other forms of wealth in the occupied territories, in clear violation of international humanitarian and human rights law. In this context, it is critical that the OSCE participating States demonstrate a principled position in defending the principles and values that this Organization is striving for in order to keep the prospects of political settlement alive.”
“The unlawful presence of the armed forces of Armenia in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan is the major destabilizing factor with the potential to escalate at any time with unpredictable consequences. The settlement of the conflict must, therefore, start with immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces from Azerbaijani territories, as demanded by the UN Security Council resolutions 822 (1993), 853 (1993), 874 (1993) and 884 (1993) and as implied by the mandate of the co-Chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group.”
“Putting an end to Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan and withdrawal of Armenia’s troops will be a significant confidence building measure completely changing the dynamics of peace process and opening up immense opportunities for the development of South Caucasus. This would pave the way for a safe and dignified return of the forcibly displaced population to their places of origin, normalization of relations and restoration of the communications in the region, as well as for the creation of objective conditions for the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region to discuss their joint future within Azerbaijan,” Mammadyarov said.
“In this regard, latest ideas proposed by Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, supported by other OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs can provide a very good impetus to reach a breakthrough in peace talks,” he added.