BAKU, 14 November 2023 – In a visit to Azerbaijan that wrapped up today, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Pia Kauma (Finland) and Special Representative on South Caucasus Kari Henriksen (Norway) discussed with the nation’s political leadership the need to reach a full settlement with Armenia following the restoration of control of the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan in September. Constructive engagement is important for moving forward with a peace agreement and normalization of ties, the PA leaders said, noting that Azerbaijan’s strong participation in the OSCE PA is a positive sign for multilateral diplomacy and dialogue in the region.

In a series of meetings in Baku, President Kauma, Special Representative Henriksen and Secretary General Roberto Montella discussed the current situation with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Speaker of the Milli Majlis Sahiba Gafarova, Deputy Foreign Minister Fariz Rzayev, and the Delegation of Azerbaijan to the OSCE PA, headed by Azay Guliyev. They also met authorities working with demining, missing persons and human rights, internally displaced persons and refugees, and representatives of the international community, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, discussing particularly the humanitarian situation in the territories newly under control by Azerbaijani authorities.

“While significant challenges remain, including large displaced populations whose rights must be respected, I welcome the stated commitment to finally conclude a long-awaited resolution. The loss of life among both Azerbaijanis and Armenians over the past 30 years is a tragedy that should not be forgotten,” President Kauma said today.

Special Representative Henriksen added that now is the time to build upon momentum to forge a full settlement between Azerbaijan and Armenia. “Baku now has an opportunity to show genuine leadership in the interest of establishing a lasting peace,” Henriksen said. “I encourage my fellow parliamentarians to add their voice to peace efforts in the public dialogue, and thereby contribute to peaceful coexistence in the region.”

The Azerbaijani interlocutors noted that the international efforts for a peaceful settlement did not yield results and said that the operation carried out in September was targeted and restrained. The PA leaders welcomed the stated commitment by the authorities to facilitate returns by ethnic Armenians who had fled the territories. The delegation also took good note of the significant efforts to make the newly controlled territories safe from landmines, and to move forward with reconstruction and reintegration.

All sides agreed that it was in the interest of international stability to move forward with the peace process. The delegation encouraged continued engagement by the international community with security and humanitarian developments in Azerbaijan. They acknowledged that mutual confidence among the populations can take time to develop, but noted that international institutions can contribute to confidence-building efforts.

President Kauma’s and Special Representative Henriksen’s visit to the region continues with a series of meetings in Georgia and Armenia in the coming days. At the end of the regional visit, the OSCE PA will hold its Autumn Meeting in Yerevan, where the President will report on her discussions.-0-

 

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