The issue of mechanisms for the investigation of ceasfire violations in negotiat10 m. | 2019-08-01
The OSCE Minsk Group actually started to refer to the ceasefire maintenance mechanisms just after suggesting the Madrid or Basic Principles. That is, the Basic principles entered into force from 2006-2007, which, as we know, involved 3 principles based on 6 elements for conflict resolution. The stage of platform preparation also began. Humanitarian ties between each other, proposals for withdrawal of snipers, as well as the issue of OSCE investigation mechanisms have been issued since 2011. First time it appeared in public discourse on March 5, 2011, during the joint statement which followed the trilateral meeting of the Presidents of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan in Sochi, where a few points were mentioned, including the need to introduce investigation mechanisms for taking control over the ceasefire violations. Immediately after that, on March 9, the necessity for using investigation mechanisms was again mentioned in the Co-Chairs’ statement of the OSCE Minsk Group. There were numerous statements at the level of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, as well as in the other statement, which followed another trilateral meeting between the Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia in 2012. And the following idea was mentioned during all these, if to quote the statements made by the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group: “Each of the sides accuses the other side of the ceasefire violations, and as mediators, we do not have any mechanism, which will allow us to understand which of the sides was the first to violate the Ceasefire. That’s why, it is necessary to introduce independent investigation mechanisms”. This was the idea, which was introduced by the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and by this, they justified their claim: as long as there is no neutral mechanism for recording the ceasefire mechanisms, either side can make violations and no one will ever know which side did it. Each side will insist on what he wants. We do not have a complete idea of the mechanism yet, as it has only been mentioned about its introduction and not about what it looks like. As it should have been discussed with the participation of both sides and a final agreement had to be reached. In contrast to the previously suggested mechanisms, here, taking into account technical new opportunities, there is one point, we know: fixing devices.
That is, devices, which would record, which of the sides had violated. Basically, if a deployment of a peacekeeper was previously required, so as to record the ceasefire violation, now it is possible to install cameras along the Line of Contact, which will shoot 24 hours a day, and by watching this, it will become clear which of the sides has violated. And the mediators will certainly have a control mechanism over these cameras, so as the side will not change them. This is the main mechanism and the main idea behind it. Until 2016, even the Azerbaijani side has mentioned for several times, that they do not agree with the introduction of those mechanisms. If we look back on the interview and statement made by Elmar Mammadyarov, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister in December 2011, we will see the same thing as it was in 1994-1995: Azerbaijani side insists, that any regulation should be complete as they imagine. They disagree to keep the ceasefire, unless their demands are met: “Withdrawal of troops, return of territories” and so on. That’s why their logic already dictates, that by maintaining the ceasefire or introducing neutral mechanisms will keep them away from their desired solution: if there are no violations, the conflict freezes. These is what their statements mean. Moreover, the freezing of the conflict implies that they will no longer have any mechanism to affect the negotiation process.
The issue of introducing the OSCE investigation mechanisms raised a new level after the military activities in April 2016.A joint statement was issued here, after the May 16 meeting held between the Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs in Vienna, authored not by the Co-Chairs but by the foreign ministers of those countries: French Foreign Minister, Russian Foreign Minister and the United States Secretary of State. It was mentioned in their joint statement, that the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed on introducing ceasefire mechanisms. There followed a meeting in June between the Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia. Here also a reference was made to the Vienna agreement: that is, the sides agreed to implement the agreement reached in Vienna. However, the President of Azerbaijan withdrew from that agreement in the same year. He said that such agreement wasn’t reached. The Azerbaijani Foreign Minister also made a few statements that this agreement is not a priority. It’s not a priority for them to keep the ceasefire.
In fact, it turns out that the Azerbaijani side’s logic, followed by the last statement of the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister in June 2019 is as follows: the maintenance or non-maintenance of the ceasefire has no influence on the negotiation process. This is what the Azerbaijani side claims. That is, the Azerbaijani side refuses to introduce the ceasefire maintenance mechanisms, insisting that even in case of active ceasefire violations it’s possible to achieve good results in the negotiation process. As a proof to it, they refer to the negotiations of 2009-2017, as if “the negotiations were based on the Basic Principles”. However, the weak point here, in these statements and position is of course the fact, that the negotiations, yes, took place, but they didn’t reach any result. So far, the first stage, that is the platform preparation hasn’t been implied. We can also link this point with the “Preparing people for peace” arrangement. In 2019, such kind of arrangement was reached at the level of foreign ministers in Paris. Under such conditions, if we formulate it this way: “How can the peoples be prepared for peace, if there are ceasefire violations at the border and victims by both sides?”. Logically, they had to contradict each other. The only point, on which the Azerbaijani side has so far come to an agreement, is the increase in the number of members of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office. We have already stated that the only mechanism for controlling the ceasefire maintenance is the OSCE monitoring. The number of people, who have been monitoring for the last 2 years, is 14 if I am not mistaken. Even if the number of observers reaches 100, it will never become a complete mechanism for ceasefire control, as the observers are not on the Line of Contact for 24 hours a day. In fact, by observing all these, we have the following result: since 1994, the Azerbaijani side has rejected various proposals of establishing ceasefire control mechanisms, by building his policy on the following: ceasefire maintenance is not beneficial from the viewpoint of Azerbaijani policy. As it was emphasized by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, both Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh has always been in favor of introducing these mechanisms, the only opposite side has been Azerbaijan. Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that the ceasefire maintenance is not beneficiary large