BAKU (RFE/RL) — Azerbaijan has made clear that it will not allow the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to deploy monitors on the Armenian-Azerbaijani frontlines around Nagorno-Karabakh.
“In the absence of withdrawal of the Armenian troops from the occupied territories, such a deployment would lead only to further consolidation of the status quo and prolongation of the conflict,” the Azerbaijani mission to the OSCE headquarters in Vienna said on Thursday, March 9.
The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijani agreed to the expansion of a small OSCE team periodically monitoring ceasefire in the Karabakh conflict zone when they met in the Austrian capital in May last year. The talks, hosted by then-US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, came just over a month after the outbreak of the worst fighting along the Karabakh “line of contact” in over two decades.
In a joint statement issued at the time, Lavrov, Kerry and a senior French official said Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan also pledged to “finalize in the shortest possible time” a mechanism for OSCE investigations of ceasefire violations. None of these two measures backed by Armenia has been put into practice to date.
“Unfortunately, we are faced with introduction of unacceptable elements such as deployment of OSCE observers to the Line of Confrontation, which is a change of modus operandi of [the Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office] and not in line with agreements reached at the level of Presidents,” the Azerbaijani mission said in a statement read out at Thursday’s meeting of the OSCE’s Permanent Council.
“Azerbaijan cannot accept such a dangerous development in the conflict zone as it contradicts the very purpose of entire [OSCE] Minsk process,” it added.