By Armen Zakarian
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has rejected Azerbaijani demands to affirm Baku’s sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh and call for unconditional Armenian withdrawal from the surrounding territories, it emerged on Monday.
The assembly bringing together parliamentarians from Europe’s largest security organization adopted a short and cautiously-worded resolution urging Armenia and Azerbaijan to “intensify their efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in the near future.” The resolution drafted by Swedish lawmaker Goran Lennmarker also voices support for the long-running peace efforts of the OSCE’s Minsk Group co-chaired by France, Russia and the United States.
The resolution was adopted at the assembly’s ongoing session in Washington and was praised as “quite balanced” by Artashes Geghamian, an opposition leader and a member of the Armenian delegation. In a separate report submitted to the heads of parliamentary delegations from the 55 member states, Lennmarker said there is now a “golden opportunity” to resolve the Karabakh dispute.
The delegation heads blocked a long list of amendments to the resolution that were put forward by an Azerbaijani parliamentarian. They referred to Karabakh as a part of Azerbaijan, demanded “unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan,” and urged Armenia to “stop the continuation of the settlement of civilian population” in those areas.
Speaking to RFE/RL from Washington, Geghamian said only five countries, including Azerbaijan and Turkey, backed those amendments.