Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 7
The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Serbia's Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France) today have discussed developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, according to the OSCE press release.
The OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier and the Personal Representative of the CiO Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk also joined the meeting.
The Statement by OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group on latest developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process says:
"We all agree that the military situation along the Line of Contact and Armenia-Azerbaijan border is deteriorating, posing a threat to regional stability and endangering the lives of civilians. The 12 casualties and 18 wounded cited by Ambassador Kasprzyk's monitoring reports in January represent the highest confirmed number of victims in the first month of a year since the 1994 ceasefire agreement. After 2014, in which approximately 60 people lost their lives, we are alarmed that this disturbing violent trend has continued.
There is no military solution to the conflict, and the sides must cease using force. We call on the sides to end incursions, cease targeting villages and civilians, stop the threat of reprisals and the use of asymmetric force, and take additional steps to reduce tensions and strengthen the ceasefire. We find it unacceptable that the security guarantees are not fully observed during OSCE monitoring exercises.
Additionally, we reaffirm the December 4, 2014 joint statement of the Heads of Delegation of the Co-Chair countries at the Basel Ministerial Council, calling on the sides to settle humanitarian issues, including the return of bodies and prisoners, in the spirit of the Astrakhan statement of October 2010.
The Minsk Group Co-Chairs, with the full support of the Chairperson-in-Office, are prepared to host an intensified negotiation process that can bring to a peaceful end a conflict that has scarred the region for too long. We strongly urge the sides to find the political will to begin this process immediately without excuses."
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.
As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.