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French Co-chair of Minsk Group changed, but approach to Karabakh conflict remains the same - COMMENT

Last statements of US and Russian representatives proved the OSCE Minsk Group’s inefficiency

Baku. 21 October. REPORT.AZ/ France has changed its representative in Minsk Group. Diplomat Pierre Andre was replaced by Stephane Visconti.

S.Visconti was Ambassador to Latvia.

Notably, Minsk Group is a mission founded for peaceful resolution based on Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) principles of the conflict over occupied territories of Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. The group was created in meeting of OSCE Ministerial Council held on March 24, 1992.

Azerbaijan, USA, Germany, Belarus, Russia, France, Poland, Turkey, Finland, Sweden and Armenia are members of the group.

Co-chairmanship including USA, France and Russian diplomats was established in 1996.

James Warlick from USA (since 2013) and Igor Popov from Russia (since 2011) are other co-chairs of Minsk Group.

Replacement of French co-chair of the group, of course, will not have any influence for liberation of occupied lands of Azerbaijan. As we know co-chairs are not decision-makers. Nevertheless, change of French co-chair of the group is another occasion to stress importance of liberation of Azerbaijani lands from occupation and say something about current processes.

At this point we would like to remind recent statements of representatives of USA and Russia.

US Secretary of State John Kerry considers that there is not still circumstance to eliminate conflict which became around the Nagorno-Karabakh between Azerbaijan and Armenia. “There are some frozen conflicts, including Armenian- Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that possibility of settlement is not be looked over “at present”, first of all, because leaders are not ready for it”, he stated in his speech in 8th annual Forum organized by Aspen Institute Analytic magazine in Washington.

Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters recently that Moscow is not optimistic about the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the near future. But Russia will do everything to end the conflict. We and our partners will continue to work with Baku and Erevan.

President of Azerbaijan commented on statement of John Kerry: “This statement is surprising, to say the least. To blame Azerbaijan for failing to resolve the conflict is at least unfair. On the other hand, how is this statement consistent with others?! After all, there is a thesis which has been repeatedly proclaimed by the Presidents of America, Russia and France: "The status quo is unacceptable." We welcome that. Nothing specific was done after these words, but the appearance of these words is a great success for us. With such a strong statement, to say that "both sides are to blame", that "parties are not ready" and that "this issue is more complicated the Palestinian-Israeli conflict" simply means support for the aggressive policy of Armenia. There can be no other explanation. Various statements are made now that these expressions were taken out of context and misunderstood. We understand everything – we live in an age of the Internet. Words said somewhere in the word immediately reverberate. We do not accept such statements. We believe that such expressions should be amended at the highest level and in the near future. Otherwise, the mediation mission may be in doubt. It was only a thesis expressed in an official manner. But there is so much talk behind closed doors! So much pressure is exerted on us for Azerbaijan to agree to the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh! We are not saying this because diplomacy has its own rules. However, the main reason of the campaign of slander and insult being waged against us by Western media and nongovernmental organizations, as well as the use of the "fifth column" which receives orders, is to force us to agree to the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. This will never happen!”

Statements of representatives of both countries once again prove that Minsk Group is unnecessary. Because its co-chairs instead of fulfillment of their responsibilities which is drawing out Armenian forces form Azerbaijani lands, produce constant excuses to extend status-quo. On the other hand, we see that Washington and Moscow try to demonstrate anger to each other using Nagorno-Karabakh issue.

Azerbaijan has single reasonable demand: Armenia must draw out its forces form occupied territories. But Minsk Group co-chairs are mostly talk about ceasefire or other activities which have no influence for resolution of the conflict.

From this point of view, we should hardly expect something different from France which recognized processes related to Armenians in 1915 in Ottoman Empire as “Armenian Genocide”. Paris is always listening to Moscow and Washington in this issue, on the other hand it is looking for allocations from Armenian lobby. In this sense, new French co-chair of Minsk Group will hardly express different approach to the conflict. 

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