RESPONSE TO THE CO-CHAIRMEN OF THE MINSK GROUP

Tacan İLDEM 22.03.2012
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TACAN İLDEM,
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF TURKEY
RESPONSE TO THE CO-CHAIRMEN OF THE MINSK GROUP
906rd PERMANENT COUNCIL
22 March 2012

Mr. Chairman,

We welcome the Co-Chairmen of the Minsk Group to the Permanent Council.

The address by the Co-Chairmen to the Permanent Council today has a particular significance for us as it coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Minsk Conference process that will be marked on 24th March. Despite the efforts of the Co-Chairs, which we have appreciated and supported, progress towards a solution to the conflict is still far from reality. On the other hand, the fact that the ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan is maintained may be regarded as a factor of consolation but by no means can be considered as an end or achievement in itself.

The South Caucasus holds a great potential for development and prosperity, which has so far been held back due to the security considerations. Unfortunately this long-standing conflict still is a main stumbling block to comprehensive peace and stability and constitutes an impediment to the emergence of a cooperative atmosphere in the region. As we all agree, the present status quo is neither acceptable nor sustainable as has been underlined during the presentation that we heard from the Co-Chairmen. Therefore, we believe that the 20th anniversary of the inception of the Minsk Group should give us the opportunity to work together towards finding ways of achieving a change in the status quo towards a peaceful, just and lasting settlement to the conflict. In our opinion, the work of the Minsk Group has to be reinvigorated to have a new impetus to the process with fresh ideas. This should be part of our determination to register concrete progress in the settlement process.

A vision of peace for the South Caucasus based on regional cooperation through comprehensive projects interlinking and integrating all countries of the region to each other can reinforce the efforts of the Minsk Group. Such a broad vision could be instrumental in reaching lasting and comprehensive peace, stability and security in the region.

Turkey is of the opinion that the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Minsk Conference process should be utilized in order to give a new result-oriented momentum to the settlement process. With this aim, we propose to hold a conference with the participation of the Minsk Group members to commemorate the 20th anniversary on a suitable date during this year.

The conference, by allowing a fresh exchange of views will not only serve to reinvigorate the work of the Minsk Group but to enable a more effective engagement of the Group members to the settlement process. It will also provide the opportunity to make a thorough assessment of the achievements and failures of the past efforts and to elaborate the way forward.

Our initiative is also motivated by the need to allow the OSCE to regain its credibility in contributing to peace and security in our area. Despite the OSCE commitments undertaken at the highest political level, the conflicts which our organization is mandated to resolve unfortunately remain protracted. Indeed, resolving those protracted conflicts will definitely have an impact not only on our continent’s stability but also on a wider political and geographical scale.

Thank you.