Foreign Minister Steinmeier on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

16.05.2016 - Press release

Ahead of the meeting of the Minsk Group with the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement in Vienna on 16 May regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict:

The conflicts in Libya and Syria are not the only ones on our minds in Vienna at present: we are also very concerned about the almost daily clashes on Europe’s south‑eastern flank, in the Southern Caucasus, in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The heavy fighting along the line of contact six weeks ago shows that the status quo of the last years is untenable on a permanent basis. The longer the conflict lasts and the more the parties involved continue to arm themselves, the greater the risk will be of a renewed escalation, indeed of a war between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The OSCE is playing a very important role in the efforts to resolve this conflict. For many years now, France, Russia and the US have been endeavouring as Co‑Chairs of the Minsk Group to ensure that the ceasefire is consolidated and the political process resumed. As holder of the OSCE Chairmanship, Germany is doing all it can in support of these efforts. We are working to encourage the two sides to move towards a durable conflict resolution.

In our view, the aim must be to ensure that the ceasefire along the line of contact is observed and consolidated, confidence-building measures are agreed on and a negotiating process is launched.

This will take time: a solution will not be found overnight. However, that does not mean that we should ease up our efforts to resolve this conflict.

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