OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs Not to Join Azerbaijan-Armenia-Turkey Foreign Ministers Talks

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 16 September 2008 17:59 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 16 September / Trend corr. R.Novruzov/ OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs will not join the negotiations amongst the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey in New-York.

The meeting amongst Elmar Mammadyarov, Edvard Nalbandyan and Ali Babajan, initiated by Turkish Foreign Minister, will take place within the UN General Assembly session to commence in New-York on 16 September. Normalization of relations between Armenia and its neighbours Azerbaijan and Turkey, as well as ways of settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, will be discussed at the meeting.

The conflict between the two countries of the South Caucasus began in 1988 due to Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since 1992, Armenian Armed Forces have occupied 20% of Azerbaijan including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding districts. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, France, and the US) are currently holding peaceful negotiations.

"The meeting was initiated by Turkey and we have not yet been invited," Russian co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Yuriy Merzlakov said to Trend in a telephone conversation from Moscow on 16 September.

Merzlyakov did not rule out the probability to expand OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing, Turkey's joining the format, given recent initiatives of official Ankara striving to play a more active role in settling of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, but added that everything will depend on a consensus amongst all members of the Minsk Group.

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