Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 14 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /
The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, Ambassadors Bernard Fassier (France), Robert Bradtke (the United States), and Igor Popov (Russia) carried out the Field Assessment Mission to the occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh.
This Mission took place on October 7-13, 2010, along modalities they had previously discussed with all sides involved.
The Co-Chairs' Mission was supported by OSCE Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk and his staff, working with de facto local authorities. On the Co-Chairs' invitation, three technical experts, including two from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), assisted them in their tasks.
Prior to undertaking their Mission, the Co-Chairs met separately on October 6, 2010 with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to present details of the Mission and introduce their team. They also had a similar meeting on October 7, 2010 with the de facto authorities in Stepanakert/Khankendi.
The Mission provided an important opportunity for the Co-Chairs to meet with numerous people on the ground and familiarize themselves with the overall current situation in the territories, in all aspects, including humanitarian needs. The unprecedented participation of technical experts from the UNHCR allowed the Mission team to understand better the rights, within the framework of international humanitarian law, of all refugees and displaced persons in the region and the conditions now facing those living in these territories.
The Co-Chairs, with input from the experts, are now compiling the information gathered during their Mission. After completing this work, they will prepare an internal OSCE report, which will be shared with all sides.
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.