It is wrong to characterize the Karabakh conflict as an “ethno-confessional” conflict, though Azerbaijan continues its dangerous attempts to give religious coloring to it. No one has forgotten that at the beginning of the conflict Azerbaijan hired mercenaries from Afghanistan and other countries that were tightly linked to terrorist organizations. The remarks came from Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian in an interview with the Russian Magazine “Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn”.
The minister said that in 2014 - 20 years after the ceasefire treaty signed by Nagorny Karabakh, Azerbaijan, and Armenia - Azerbaijan’s ceasefire breaches hit a new high. The adversary uses heavy weapons and shells at civil facilities. As tensions in the conflict zone escalate, the parties suffer unprecedented casualties. “In January 2015, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs expressed concern over Azerbaijan’s sabotage attempts along the Line of Contact with Nagorny Karabakh and the border with Armenia. They called on Baku to observe the commitments to peaceful resolution of the conflict,” the minister said.
According to the minister, the co-chairs keep making specific proposals on how to keep the ceasefire, create mechanisms of inquiring into the incidents and ceasefire breaches, to withdraw snipers and take confidence-building measures. “However, Azerbaijan disregards the proposals and initiatives of the co-chairs having international mediation mandate,” Nalbandian said. He is sure that Baku continues to oppose the Minsk group co-chairs and torpedoes the peace process. “Baku declines the settlement proposals that are the results of the co-chairs’ genuine efforts of the last six years: the results of almost twenty summits, several dozens of ministerial meetings, and numerous visits to the regions,” the minister said.
“Azerbaijan seeks to present its own imitation of talks as proposals of the co-chairs, distorts the conflict and the negotiation process and discredits the co-chairs of the Minsk Group, personal representatives of the OSCE CiO. On January 27, 2015, the co-chairs were reluctant to remind Baku of their mandate and express concern over the continuous criticism of the negotiation process, the role of the Minsk Group co-chairs and responsibilities of the OSCE mission,” Nalbandian said.
The minister said that Azerbaijan is hung up about its alleged opportunity to settle the conflict by force. “Therefore, it casts doubts upon the activity of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and tries to raise the Karabakh issue at other platforms, present the conflict as a territorial dispute and speculate on the religious factor. All this is behind the intensified provocations on the border with Armenia and along the Line of Contact with Nagorny Karabakh. Armenia jointly with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs will continue the efforts towards peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict. There is no alternative to the negotiated settlement of the conflict,” Edward Nalbandian said.