By Emil Danielyan
A senior official from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe voiced at the weekend his “disappointment” with an August 19 skirmish on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, but avoided laying the blame on any of the conflicting parties.
Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, the head of an OSCE group monitoring the ceasefire regime in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, refuted Azerbaijani press reports that quoted him as accusing Armenian forces of starting the shootout which disrupted a routine OSCE inspection of the line of contact.
“It was not possible to determine whether the firing came from the Armenian or Azerbaijani side or both,” Kasprzyk said in a statement from his Tbilisi office. “The shots were fired at some distance from the Monitoring site. The firing point or points could not be seen and the type of weapon or weapons used could not be identified.”
“Despite reports which have appeared in the press, it is stressed that no conclusions have yet been drawn as to who was to blame for the firing,” the Polish diplomat added.
The incident reportedly occurred near Armenia’s northeastern Tavush region which borders on the Tovuz district in western Azerbaijan. Each party accused the other of firing first. Neither reported any casualties. The area is hundreds of kilometers away from the main Armenian-Azerbaijani frontline around Karabakh.
Kasprzyk, who was on the Azerbaijani side of the militarized frontier, said he cut short the monitoring because the shooting “placed in danger the OSCE teams and escort personnel.” He urged both sides to conduct a “thorough investigation” into the clash which followed a series of deadly firefights east of Karabakh reported this summer.