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OSLO COUNCIL - Global Solidarity

18-19 May 1998


1. The Socialist International supports the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The SI, together with its member parties, considers the diversity of the region as an asset and strongly encourages the states to support the democratic development of cross-border cultural and national heritages. Simultaneously, a satisfying status for Nagorny-Karabakh has to be found.

2. The Socialist International acknowledges the successful implementation of political and economic reforms in Southern Caucasus. Through acceptance of multi-party systems, democratic election procedures and freedom of expression, these countries have taken concrete steps towards democracy. The further improvement of the human rights situation, combatting corruption and the development of independent media in all three South Caucasian states can intensify the democratisation process and help safeguard the results achieved. In this context, it is also important to intensify the restructuring of the social security system in order to find a social balance for the hardships of the transition. The SI member parties will offer their cooperation to ensure the continuation of these processes.

3. Cultural ties between South Caucasian and the other European countries provide an important basis for cooperation in the development of a clear division of power, an independent judicial process, a democratic rule of law and transparent institutions. The strengthening of democratic institutions and increased public confidence in these very institutions are essential components to non-violent regulation of conflicts, both internal and external. SI members are prepared to share their experiences in the attempt to find a solution to these democratic objectives.

4. The SI supports every effort aimed at peacefully solving conflicts within and between the individual states. It also calls on the conflicting parties to increasingly resolve hostilities through mediated procedures with the UN and the OSCE and others. The previous activities of these two organisations deserve our high recognition.

5. The responsible conflicting parties in the South Caucasian states are requested to increase their efforts in providing for the unconditional return of displaced persons and refugees and for their integration into their respective communities. International organisations and SI members should offer increased cooperation and support in this area.

6. It is urgent that the quality of life be improved, especially for refugees and displaced persons. Such an improvement is not only a humanitarian interest, but is also in the immediate interest of political and social stability. Furthermore, the improvement of the quality of life can be installed even without resolving the status question.

7. We have to find satisfying conditions for ethnic minorities, guaranteeing them a secure existence. Europeans, in cooperation with their respective governments, should also be prepared to contribute to the regulation of the minority issue.

8. The "Minsk Process" initiated by the OSCE reinforces the willingness of OSCE members to take on a part of the responsibility for the regulation of the Nagorny-Karabakh conflict. The SI welcomes this European engagement and commits itself to an acceleration and intensification of the negotiation process. However, the major part of responsibility lies in the hands of the conflicting parties themselves. The SI calls on the conflicting parties to find mutually acceptable solutions to the conflict through direct negotiations, and to transform the four-year-old ceasefire into a lasting peace.

9. The SI welcomes the progress made in improving the situation in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict.

10. The SI welcomes the peaceful direct and informal dialogue between Georgian and Abkhazian parties. However, differences of opinion must not escalate to violence. In this spirit, the SI supports the "Geneva Process" which gives the framework for confidence-building measures and, therefore, helps facilitate a consensus on the status issue. The SI calls for the elimination of the results of ethnic cleansing. Remedies for gross violations of human rights should be provided as an essential part of a solution to the refugee problem and for the re-establishment of genuine peace.

11. One of the main threats to security and stability in the South Caucasus originates from different forms of violence, mainly terrorism and covert actions. The SI stands firmly against the use of violence as a means to achieving political results and calls on governments to cooperate in order to prevent terrorist actions against their neighbours. At the same time, it is urgent for the governments of the region and the international community to prevent the spread of arms in the conflict zones.

12. The SI expresses its concern that the unregulated conflict in the South Caucasian region, together with the tensions in the Northern Caucasus, could turn the entire Caucasian region into a zone of instability which could endanger peace, security and cooperation in the European and Asiatic continents. The SI is prepared to cooperate with the states of the Southern Caucasus and the Russian Federation in order to prevent this from happening. A regular exchange of information and consultation between and among concerned parties in potential and existing conflict areas and with the Socialist International Peace, Security and Disarmament Committee, SIPSAD, could be an important tool of preventive diplomacy and elaboration of early warning mechanisms for conflict-prevention.

13. The SI supports the wish of the South Caucasian states to find their place in the world's - and especially in the European - integration processes, and their commitment to the common human values. Such projects as the European transportation corridor and also the common use of natural resources of the region, could be important instruments for achieving stronger ties with Europe and sustainable development, peace and social justice.

14. The SI is convinced that nations of the region can only succeed through peaceful cooperation. We embrace the current initiatives adopted and encourage all governments involved to continue down this path. Regional cooperation on all levels has the potential to relieve tensions. In the framework of today's globalised world, where individual states are no longer capable of independently resolving problems, regional cooperation also has the potential to resolve economic, ecological and security objectives.

15. The SI encourages the institutionalisation of this cooperation, especially in the fields of protection of human, civic and minority rights as well as economic development such as energy, transport and customs regulations, and arms control and its verification. Such efforts for institutionalised cooperation might prove helpful to decreasing the intensity of existing conflicts and increasing the confidence necessary to make progress in solving them.