OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier today departs on a three-day visit to the South Caucasus region and will travel to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Before his departure, Steinmeier said that despite much turbulence in Europe, one must not lose sight of the situation in the South Caucasus. "The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict risks to re-escalate at any time," said Steinmeier. "As Chair of the OSCE, we have the responsibility to hedge this risk as far as possible." Steinmeier believes that putting an end to ceasefire violations is through confidence-building measures and negotiations.
Steinmeier also stressed that the settlement of territorial conflicts in Georgia has to remain high on the agenda. He commented on the Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, taking place in Tbilisi on July 1-5, saying "By speaking at the opening session of the Parliamentary Assembly I wish to underline our support to strengthening parliamentarianism in the OSCE area."
The Karabakh issue will also be high on the agenda during Steinmeier's visit to the South Caucasus. Official Stepanakert hopes the discussions will have a positive impact on the efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region.
"We hope that in its capacity of the OSCE, Germany will take important steps toward development and implementation of the mechanism of investigation of border incidents," Spokesperson for the Nagorno-Karabakh President David Babayan said in an interview.
He added that "if Germany manages to progress in that direction, it will be a great achievement."
Babayan said that resolving the Karabakh conflict is in the interest of all three co-chairing countries. "There is no confrontation or even competition between the mediators. Moscow always informs the other co-chairs about the results of discussions with the parties, and invites their representatives to participate in meetings."
"No one is interested in large-scale war in the region. Peace and stability are in everyone's interest both from the humanitarian perspective and from the point of view of the national interests of the three countries," the Spokesperson said.
"All co-chairing countries have overlapping views on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict," he concluded.