Azerbaijan, Baku, July 22 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /
Russian and U.S Co-Chairmen of OSCE Minsk Group will be changed in 2009, Russian Co-Chairman Yuri Merzlyakov told Trend .
"U.S Co-Chairman of OSCE Minsk Group Matthew Bryza will pay a last visit to the region as Co-Chairman of OSCE Minsk Group," Merzlyakov said over the phone from Moscow.
He said that he will also leave the position of Co-Chairman in 2009.
"I intend and hope that I will be allowed to leave this post on the seventh year of service as Russian Co-Chairman of OSCE Minsk Group. I think it will happen in 2009, Merzlyakov said.
U.S Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Bryza was appointed Co-Chairman of OSCE Minsk Group to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict from the U.S side in June 2006, replacing Steven Mann.
Foreign Policy reported in early June that U.S Congress had unofficial consultations on the possible appointment of Matthew Bryza as Ambassador to Azerbaijan.
"There is no information about my appointment as Ambassador," Bryza told media in Moscow before Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan's meeting in July.
Bryza said that if there was to be such an appointment, he would be pleased to work in any South Caucasus country.
Merzlyakov became Russian Co-Chairman of OSCE Minsk Group in solving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in September 2003, replacing Ambassador Nikolai Gribkov.
Merzlyakov is a skilled diplomat. He was Russian Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary ambassador to Kazakhstan, as well as to several African countries. He worked in different positions in the central office of the USSR Foreign Ministry, and is a specialist on the Caspian Sea.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan lost all of Nagorno-Karabakh except for Shusha and Khojali in December 1991. In 1992-93, Armenian armed forces occupied Shusha, Khojali and 7 districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.