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Tánaiste says cycle of violence must stop on visit to Azerbaijan

Human rights, Press Releases, Europe, 2012

BAKU, 14 June 2012 – The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore, as OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, during today’s visit to Azerbaijan called for restraint and an end to violence following the recent clashes with Armenia.  Following his meeting with Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, the Tánaiste said:

“The cycle of violence must stop - this conflict will not be resolved by the use of force.  He condemned recent violent incidents and urged the sides to further advance their work on the general principles of a resolution, implement confidence-building measures, namely the removal of snipers from the line of contact, an agreement on a mechanism for investigating incidents on the frontlines, and following through on the recent agreement by the Presidents to develop people-to-people contacts.

The OSCE Chairmanship supports the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs to work with the sides on strengthening the ceasefire and finding a negotiated solution”.

The Tánaiste also stressed the OSCE’s support to the sides to bridge differences between countries and between peoples:

“We want to help the region move towards a lasting peace.  We in Ireland, through the Northern Ireland Peace Process, have witnessed the fact that empathy, tolerance, respect and inclusiveness – the readiness to accommodate differences – are key to successful peace talks. We cannot impose a solution, but we can provide a forum for dialogue.”

In his meetings the Tánaiste expressed concern about freedom of the media in the country and arrests of journalists. He discussed co-operation with the OSCE Office in Baku which supports the authorities in the human, political, economic and environmental aspects of security and stability.

During his visit the Tánaiste met Prime Minister Artur Rasi-zade, Deputy Chair of the Milli Mejlis (Parliament) Bahar Muradova, representatives of political parties and the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh as well as the staff of the OSCE Office in Baku.

The visit to Baku completes the OSCE Chairperson’s trip to the South Caucasus that started in Yerevan on 11 and 12 June, followed by a visit to Tbilisi on 12 and 13 June.