By Emil Danielyan
An envoy from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has spoken of a “good possibility” of resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict this year ahead of his upcoming fact-finding visit to the South Caucasus.
Goran Lennmarker, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s representative on the South Caucasus conflicts, is due to arrive in Yerevan on Monday on the first leg of his regional tour. He will meet leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
“I hope the result will be positive signals that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is on its way to a peaceful resolution, where the two countries, Armenia and Azerbaijan, are prepared to agree on a solution that is mutually beneficial for both of them,” Lennmarker said in an interview posted on the assembly website late Thursday. “I think there is a good possibility for that,” he added.
Lennmarker urged the conflicting parties to display a sense urgency in the protracted peace process, saying that time for reaching a compromise agreement on Karabakh may be running out. “Time is a scarce commodity,” the Swedish parliamentarian said. “I think it’s important that solutions are reached early-on because dragging on and on, the situation on the ground deteriorates and people have less and less hope.”
The U.S., Russian and French mediators acting under the aegis of the OSCE Minsk Group have expressed hope that Baku and Yerevan will iron out by July their remaining differences over the basic principles of a Karabakh settlement proposed by the troika. The group’s U.S. co-chair, Matthew Bryza, has reportedly said that the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents made progress on “several key elements” of those principles when they met in Zurich last week.
Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani military repatriated on Friday the body of one of at least two Armenians killed in a shoot-out east of Karabakh on January 26. The Defense Ministry in Baku said its forces killed three Armenian soldiers and wounded several others as they repelled an attack on their positions.
But according to Karabakh’s Defense Army, the skirmish broke out after a civilian resident of Karabakh, identified as Bad Tadevosian, “attempted to move towards Azerbaijani positions” and was shot dead moments later. It said that Karabakh Armenian soldiers failed to hold the man back and that one of them was also killed in the ensuing firefight.