Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian on Thursday reaffirmed Armenia’s strong support for urgent confidence-building measures that would strengthen the ceasefire regime around Nagorno-Karabakh following last month’s heavy fighting there.
“The first prerequisite for the success of the negotiation process is the creation of an appropriate environment,” Ohanian told reporters.
“First of all, one should refrain from all kinds of ceasefire violations such as gunshots and commando raids,” he said. “There should also be mechanisms for international investigations that would determine which side breaches the ceasefire and criticize it accordingly.”
“We’ll see how the other side acts,” added Ohanian.
President Serzh Sarkisian and his Azerbaijani counterpart reportedly pledged to take such confidence-building measures when they held on Monday crisis talks in Vienna mediated by top U.S., Russian and French diplomats. The three mediators said Aliyev and Sarkisian specifically agreed to give the OSCE a mandate to investigate truce violations along the Karabakh “line of contact.”
Azerbaijan has objected to such investigations until now.
“The Presidents also agreed to the expansion of the existing Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson in Office,” said the mediators. The representative, Andrzej Kasprzyk, has periodically monitored the ceasefire in the Karabakh conflict zone along with a small number of other OSCE officials for the past two decades.
Azerbaijan -- An Azeri serviceman aims his weapon at the frontline with the self-defense army of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan, April 29, 2016
Aliyev’s chief foreign policy aide, Novruz Mammadov, indicated on Wednesday that Baku remains opposed to any “significant changes in Andrzej Kasprzyk’s mandate.”
“We assumed no commitments on that,” Mammadov said, contradicting a joint statement released by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and French State Secretary for European Affairs Harlem Desir.
Desir and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrlault met with Azerbaijan’s visiting Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in Paris on Thursday.According to the French Foreign Ministry, they mainly discussed peace proposals which the three mediators presented to Aliyev and Sarkisian at Vienna. The ministry gave no details.