Helsinki Com­mis­sion: Karabakh among world’s most in­tractable con­flicts

Azer News - - Karabakh Conflict - By Kamila Aliyeva

The Com­mis­sion on Se­cu­rity and Co­op­er­a­tion in Europe (CSCE), also known as the U.S. Helsinki Com­mis­sion, pub­lished a brief re­port on the NagornoKarabakh con­flict.

The re­port, re­leased on June 15, reads that the Ar­me­nian-Azer­bai­jani Nagorno-Karabakh con­flict re­mains one of the world’s most in­tractable and long-stand­ing ter­ri­to­rial con­flicts.

The his­tory of the con­flict dates back to the begin­ning of the twen­ti­eth century. The ac­tive phase of the con­flict, a full-scale war be­tween the newly in­de­pen­dent Ar­me­nia and Azer­bai­jan, be­gan in 1991 and lasted un­til the Rus­sia-bro­kered cease­fire in 1994.

The au­thors of the re­port said that in this pe­riod Ar­me­nian sep­a­ratist de­clared in­de­pen­dence, stress­ing that it is still un­rec­og­nized by in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

“Ar­me­nia claimed im­por­tant strate­gic gains as a re­sult of the con­flict, with Yere­van seiz­ing full con­trol of Nagorno-Karabakh and all or part of seven sur­round­ing prov­inces that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity con­tin­ues to rec­og­nize as part of Azer­bai­jan,” the re­port said.

Nagorno-Karabakh con­flict has re­mained un­re­solved since 1994, with fight­ing be­ing erupted pe­ri­od­i­cally along the 160-mile line of con­tact. Since 1994, there have re­port­edly been over 7,000 cease­fire vi­o­la­tions, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

April 2016 marked the most se­ri­ous out­break of vi­o­lence over the past two decades. The so-called ‘Four Day War’ took the lives of at least 200 peo­ple, the au­thors of the re­port noted.

“The con­flict saw Azer­bai­jan take con­trol of two strate­gic heights in ad­di­tion to other mod­est gains, rep­re­sent­ing the first change to the sta­tus quo since the 1994 cease­fire,” said the re­port.

The re­port stressed that the OSCE Minsk Group has long been try­ing to achieve the set­tle­ment of this long-term con­flict.

The doc­u­ment sets out the Madrid Prin­ci­ples, which list the basic points, as well as the po­si­tion of Rus­sia and the United States to­wards this con­flict.

The pol­icy of the United States to­wards the re­gion has in many ways been framed by the NagornoKarabakh con­flict, with the U.S. sup­port­ing the ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity of Azer­bai­jan while rec­og­niz­ing that the fu­ture sta­tus of Nagorno-Karabakh should be set­tled through ne­go­ti­a­tions, the re­port said.

Since the 1990s, the U.S. Helsinki Com­mis­sion has ex­am­ined the prospect for the con­flict’s res­o­lu­tion and the plight of IDPs in a num­ber of hear­ings and brief­ings. The Com­mis­sion con­stantly sup­ports the ac­tiv­i­ties of OSCE Minsk Group in this di­rec­tion.

How­ever, the au­thors sug­gest that the terms of most agree­ments re­main largely unim­ple­mented. Re­gard­less, the au­thors of re­port are con­fi­dent that the OSCE should con­tinue to pur­sue “trust-build­ing and risk re­duc­tion mea­sures.”

The re­port un­der­lined the im­por­tance of Turkey’s role in any set­tle­ment, given its close re­la­tions with Azer­bai­jan.

The U.S. Helsinki Com­mis­sion is an in­de­pen­dent agency of the U.S. Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment. For 40 years, the Com­mis­sion has mon­i­tored com­pli­ance with the Helsinki Ac­cords and ad­vanced com­pre­hen­sive se­cu­rity through promotion of hu­man rights, democ­racy, and eco­nomic, en­vi­ron­men­tal, and mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion in the 57-na­tion OSCE re­gion.

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