By Rashid Shirinov
OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Austria’s Foreign Minister, Sebastian Kurz will present his country’s chairmanship program and priorities to the OSCE Permanent Council on January 12 in Vienna, the OSCE reported on January 9.
Kurz earlier highlighted three key challenges facing the Organization and its participating States as Austria took over as the 2017 OSCE Chairmanship: deplorable and complex crises and conflicts in the OSCE area, a fundamental lack of mutual trust and confidence, and an alarming phenomenon of growing radicalization and violent extremism, especially among young people.
Austria took over the chairmanship of the OSCE from Germany on January 1, 2017.
The Austrian minister, speaking at the 71st session of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2016, noted that the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be among the priorities of his country's presidency at the OSCE.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.
Armenia still controls fifth part of Azerbaijan's territory and rejects implementing four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts.