Berlin View: Germany’s Merkel offers “constructive support” to ease tensions in Karabakh

Berlin View: Germany’s Merkel offers “constructive support” to ease tensions in Karabakh

Photo: www.president.am

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday offered “constructive support” from Berlin to resolve fresh tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the long-disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, according to the DPA news agency.

It is “of the utmost importance that [the] conflicts are resolved,” said Merkel, whose country currently holds the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which is trying to broker a settlement between the warring countries.

Merkel was speaking after a meeting in Berlin with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, who also met President Joachim Gauck at his residence later in the day. Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, also held discussions in the capital.

Sargsyan’s visit to Germany comes a day after fragile ceasefire was reached in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone where Armenian and Azerbaijani forces waged fierce battles for nearly four days since April 2. Scores of soldiers were killed or went missing on both sides, with hundreds wounded in the clashes during which heavy artillery, tanks, aircraft and other modern military equipment were used.

“Above all, everything must be done so that more blood is not spilled and lives lost, and so the efforts to reach an acceptable and lasting ceasefire are extremely urgent,” Merkel told a joint news conference with President Sargsyan, according to Reuters.

Sargsyan, according to his press office, accused Azerbaijan of turning the region into “a hotbed which threatens security in Europe.”

“The people of Karabakh want no war; they want a simple and understandable thing which all colonized people have always fought for: They want to master their own destiny and be free in creating their own future. They want their children to have a peaceful and happy childhood; they want to leave in a democratic state. They have no other aspirations,” Sargsyan stated.

The situation around Nagorno-Karabakh also dominated Sargsyan’s separate talks in Berlin with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

“The situation right now is very volatile,” Steinmeier was quoted by press agencies as saying after the meeting. The top German diplomat urged the conflicting parties to agree to a “long-term renunciation of the use of force,” bolster the ceasefire regime and embark on negotiations under the OSCE Minsk Group auspices on Karabakh’s “future status.”

“We would like to see that happen in the near future,” said Steinmeier.