In meetings yesterday and today with government and parliamentary leaders in Armenia, OSCE PA Special Representative on the South Caucasus Kristian Vigenin (MP, Bulgaria) reiterated the need for a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, keeping in mind the interests of the thousands of people directly impacted by the protracted conflict.
In Yerevan on 29 and 30 September Vigenin met with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Parliament Speaker Ara Babloyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian, Defence Minister Vigen Sargsyan, and Members of the Armenian Delegation to the OSCE PA. He also met with representatives of civil society, students from Yerevan State University, as well as a number of residents of Talish village, which suffered civilian casualties and severe damage during the intense hostilities of April 2016.
“Having met just this week with people on both sides of the contact line who continue to suffer from this decades-long conflict, I repeat: this must end,” said Special Representative Kristian Vigenin. “The conflict still impacts the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Whether they live under the terror of the daily ceasefire violations that take place along the line of contact, or the tragedy of being displaced from their homes for years on end, it is the people who suffer. Urgent and serious political engagement is needed to deliver peace for them.”
Vigenin reiterated his steadfast support for the work of the OSCE Minsk Group and its Co-Chairs, but stressed that the ultimate responsibility lies with the political leaderships of the parties involved. He welcomed plans for a meeting between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in the near future.
“The countries of the South Caucasus are full of voices for peace, because they are the ones suffering from conflict. I plan to work with my colleagues in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly to do all we can to amplify these voices and contribute to efforts at finding lasting solutions to the conflicts,” he said.
In Yerevan, Vigenin also met with the chairman of the de facto parliament of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The meetings in Armenia follow visits to Azerbaijan and Georgia earlier this week. Vigenin has regularly highlighted the role that parliamentary dialogue can play in conflict resolution processes, and throughout his visit has encouraged increased contacts among parliamentarians in the region.
The Special Representative will report on the regional visit to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Standing Committee on 4 October, and will outline concrete proposals for future engagement in the region.
Vigenin was appointed Special Representative in February 2016 by the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. In his mandate, he is tasked with promoting dialogue in all segments of society, in particular at the parliamentary level, in order to encourage reconciliation and rehabilitation with regard to the protracted conflicts in the region.
This week’s visit is part of a range of activities he is undertaking in his role as Special Representative. Vigenin is a former Foreign Minister of Bulgaria and currently serves as Deputy Head of the delegation to the OSCE PA.