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OSCE Minsk Group Mission Visiting Qarvatchar

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  • OSCE Minsk Group Mission Visiting Qarvatchar


    01 Feb 05

    The OSCE Minsk group co-chars accompanied by OSCE monitoring mission
    left Stepanakert for Qarvatchar region yesterday morning. This region,
    Qelbajar as Azeris called it, belonged to Soviet Azerbaijan but today
    is supervised by Nagorno Karabakh forces. The monitoring mission
    visited several villages ofQ arvatchar as well as the region's
    center. The mission headed by German ambassador Emily Haber includes
    10 members some of who are well-informed about Karabakh
    issue. Mrs. Haber spent few years in German embassy to Ankara and was
    the head of OSCE Division First Counselor Federal Foreign Office. The
    OSCE Minsk group co-chairs are accompanying the monitoring mission in
    Qarvatchar but they are not engaged in fact-finding. They are
    observing the territories whereas the monitoring group is visiting
    every house asking people where they came from, who brought them there
    and whether the state supports them. Questions from an enquirer are
    supposed to unveil the background of the settlers.

    Answering daily Azg's question as to what the mission's goal is,
    Mrs. Haber said that they will travel across territories that are
    administratively outof Nagorno Karabakh and are under the Armenians'
    control, will monitorand apparently will report on the situation to
    the Minsk group in 1-2 months. Ihad the impression that Russian and
    American co-chairs, Yuri Merzlyakov and Steven Mann, were not
    enthusiastic about visiting the territories. They think thatsuch steps
    change the issue's direction. Supposedly, they mean that Azerbaijan is
    more concerned with secondary issues instead of trying to find a
    solution for the conflict.

    On their way to Qarvatchar from Stepanakert the OSCE mission halted at
    Dadivank, this medieval pearl of Armenian architecture, and put a
    candle (the thought that this Armenian monastery and the whole
    territory was once introduced as Azeri made me edgy).

    The route from Stepanakert to Qarvatchar takes few hours but the
    monitoring mission kept on in radio-equipped vehicles when one of
    Karabakh representatives was telling stories from Karabakh war. We
    were passing through territories that were under Azeri military's
    control in 1992, and the ruined settlements stood as witnesses of the
    past war. They saw settlements notable for the Azeris atrocities when
    40 percent of Karabakh was under their control. Vasili Nalbandian,
    head of Qarvatchar region's administration, was tellingthe mission
    that he lost his home at the other side of Mrav mountain and moved to
    Qarvatchar having no other place to go.

    Having spent all day in Qarvatchar the mission will go south in the
    direction of Iranian border to see other territories under Karabakh's
    control. It is supposed that they will stay there 7-10 days trying to
    get the overall picture of the region. The mission is armed with
    documents from Azerbaijan with indication of regions and settlements
    that Armenia is allegedly inhabiting on state level.

    Though we didn't witness mission members' talks with the local
    population, I have the impression from what I heard that 99 percent of
    refugees are from Shahumian, Getashen and other parts of Azerbaijan. I
    want to remind that the mission's visit to these regions was
    Azerbaijan's initiative.

    By Tatoul Hakobian in Qarvatchar