Azerbaijan, Baku, October 11 / Trend /
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen Igor Popov (Russia), Robert Bradtke (U.S), Bernard Fassier (France) met with reporters in Khankendi on Monday, Armenia Today reported.
The experts of the Geneva headquarters of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees accompanying them did not participate at the briefing.
According to Bernard Fassier, the decision to conduct the field assessment mission was invited by co-chairs, and basically the mission carried out for better exploration of the situation in the region.
"I was the only mediator from our group, who has had the opportunity to visit the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in 2005. But since then the American and Russian mediators changed, so Mr. Bradtke and Mr. Popov had no opportunity to visit these areas. And therefore, we considered that it is necessary to visit and see these areas, and certainly look closely at the situation, for our common work", Fassier said.
According to him, the co-chairs found it expedient to invite several experts to assess the situation.
"Two of them represent the Geneva headquarters of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. In particular, these experts have met with many people in the villages of the areas that we had visited. And these meetings will help us to assess the humanitarian issues of these people", Fassier said.
According to him, co-chairs and experts visited 6 of the 7 regions around Nagorno Karabakh, and tomorrow will visit Kelbadjar region.
Answering the question of Armenian journalists about the areas where the mission to be held, the American co-chair Robert Bradtke said that co-chairs consider it important to visit all the areas that were affected by the conflict.
"We are talking about areas that are relevant to the work of mediators. We need to understand the situation in these areas. As Mr. Fassier said, this is our first mission, but not the last. We intend to visit other regions influenced by the conflict", Bradtke said.
According to Bernard Fassier, mission is not finished yet, and co-chairs to visit another region.
"After our visit to the region, we will have a lot of work: to bring together all this information, analyze relevant to the work and draw conclusions. Then we, first of all, will represent the conclusions to the sides. So we have a lot of work", he said.
The OSCE Assessment Mission examines the situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan on Azerbaijan's initiative. During their most recent visit the co-chairs visited these areas and familiarized themselves with the situation. The mediators are expected to prepare a report on the current situation in the occupied lands.
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 four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.