Russian co-chair: OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs to arrive in Azerbaijan in early July

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 28 June 2010 17:18 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 28 /Trend, E.Tariverdiyeva/

OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs will arrive in Azerbaijan in early July, said the Russian co-chair of OSCE Minsk Group on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement, Igor Popov.

"Co-chairs will arrive in the region in early July, the date is being specified," Popov told Trend by telephone from Moscow.

Popov did not comment on the statement by the presidents of Russia, France and the United States on Nagorno-Karabakh, made by them within G8 summit in Canada. According to him, in general the Minsk Group will give assessment on the statement by the presidents and the negotiating process after arriving in the region.

The presidents of Russia, the United States and France during G 8 summit in Canada issued a joint statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which called on the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to accelerate work on the Main principles of settlement of the conflict in order to begin drafting a Peace agreement.

The statement noted that the heads of states - co-chairs of the Minsk Group have been considered as an important step towards the recognition by both parties of the fact that the settlement must be based on several principles, among which, returning of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, an interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh providing guarantees of security and self-government; corridor linking Armenia with Nagorno- Karabakh.

The final legal determination of future status of Nagorno Karabakh "by a legally binding will of its people, the right of all refugees and internal displaced persons to return to their former homes, international guarantees of security, including peacekeeping operations" is among these principles.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994.

The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the occupied territories.