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Making Peace Between Armenia And Azerbaijan


FILE - Meeting between Armenian President Serzhe Sargsyan and OSCE Co-Chair James Warlick, September 11, 2013

“Peace is within reach,” U.S. Co-Chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Minsk Group James Warlick said recently in Washington D.C.

“Peace is within reach,” U.S. Co-Chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Minsk Group James Warlick said recently in Washington D.C. in a statement of official U.S. Government policy that guides the peace making process. “The sides have come to a point where their positions on the way forward are not that far apart.”

For two decades, peace has been elusive in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. A generation of young people has grown up in Armenia and Azerbaijan with no first-hand experience of each other. Older generations do remember a time when Armenians and Azerbaijanis lived side-by-side and differences did not need to be resolved militarily.

“The key to any successful negotiation is for all parties to conclude that they have won something,” Mr. Warlick said. “In the case of the Armenians and Azerbaijanis there is no question that a deal will unlock a new era of prosperity across the region. The benefits of peace far outweigh the costs of continued stalemate, and avoid the catastrophic consequences of renewed hostilities.”

“Armenia would immediately benefit from open borders, greater security, and new opportunities to trade, travel, and engage with all its neighbors,” Mr. Warlick continued.
“Azerbaijan would eliminate a key impediment to its growth as a player on the world stage, regional trade hub, and strong security partner, while giving hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons a prospect for reconciliation and return.”

The thousands of people living in Nagorno-Karabakh would be freed from a prison of isolation and dependence.

“A peace agreement, properly designed and implemented, would also eliminate the tragic, steady stream of casualties – both military and civilian – along the border and the Line of Contact,” he said.

No less significant is the huge financial burden that military readiness and a growing arms race imposes on national budgets.

“A lasting peace must be built not on a piece of paper, but on the trust, confidence, and participation of the people of both [Armenia and Azerbaijan].” Mr. Warlick said. “Let’s work together to build the demand for peace. Let’s demand the benefits that a peaceful settlement will bring to people across the region.”
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