I join others in thanking ambassador Kasprzyk and the co-chairs of the Minsk Group for their addresses to the Permanent Council.
It is with great pleasure we take note of the co-chairs’ and ambassador Kasprzyk’s meetings with the Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers on November 10, and especially appreciate the joint meeting between the two Ministers, opened by the French Foreign Minister.
We consider it a positive step forward that the foreign ministers could sit down and continue the discussions begun in New York on possible de-escalatory measures and next steps in the process, as well as the status of the implementation of the commitments made in the November 9 trilateral statement.
The meetings are a testimony to the positive role the Minsk Group, its co-chairs and Personal Representative Kasprzyk can play in creating a platform for dialogue. Norway believes that the Minsk Group remains the primary format through which a peace agreement should be reached and offers its utter support to the Co-Chairs and Personal Representative Kasprzyk as they all continue in their efforts to secure regional peace and stability.
We take note of the issues reiterated by the Co-Chairs at the meeting as regards progress on humanitarian issues. We agree that further progress is needed on the issues of detainees, demining, missing persons, voluntary return of displaced persons, and protection of historic and cultural sites. Furthermore, we encourage the parties to ensure humanitarian actors full access to the region and necessary support in order to provide humanitarian care.
Norway shares the deep concern expressed by the Co-Chairs with regard to recent incidents in the region, including those along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Especially those in the Syunik province along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.” We urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to refrain from taking actions which may exacerbate the current tensions in relation to the non-demarcated border between their countries. We also want to echo the co-chairs in their plea to all parties to refrain from inflammatory rhetoric and provocative actions.
Norway encourages both parties to work closely with the OSCE and other relevant international organizations in order to reach lasting stability. We also believe that the OSCE can assist in the reconciliation 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.