I join other delegations in welcoming the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan and thank him for his address to the Permanent Council.
Norway is pleased to note that the ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh region is holding. However, a ceasefire is only the first step on the long road towards a prosperous long-lasting peace, and skilful diplomacy, from both sides, is needed.
A decades long conflict affects everyone who has had to endure the hardships that comes with it. To reconcile people with different backgrounds and different understandings of what took place, dialogue is needed. And for dialogue to have any meaning, there must be trust. It will take time to build such trust. We urge the authorities of the two parties to the conflict to make every step to ensure that such trust can be built. This includes putting an end to vilifying “the others”. Armenians and Azeris share a common neighbourhood – and will have to accept that this will be the case in the years and centuries before us.
Reconciliation will also require accepting that there is not one side of sinners and another of saints in this conflict. Finding peace and reconciliation requires open, honest dialogue, and the OSCE and the Minsk Group and its co-chairs can help facilitate this.
The OSCE can also assist in the reconciliation and local development through projects in the affected areas. Such assistance would be easier to facilitate if the OSCE had visible and substantive field presences in the South Caucasus. It also requires all 57 participating states to agree on the organisation’s Unified Budget something which is long overdue. We urge the Minister to use his influence to help reaching the consensus needed.