Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 17
By Anakhanum Khidayatova - Trend:
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen James Warlick (US), Igor Popov (Russia), Pierre Andrieu (France) will do everything to reduce tension in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, French co-chairman Pierre Andrieu told Trend.
"We hope that the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia will continue meeting in the future," he said. "We would like the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to meet at the latest during the summit of the UN General Assembly in September. In the end, a final decision is made by the presidents. We are trying to play the mediation role. It is not easy, but we continue this."
The diplomat said that the Minsk Group co-chairmen will soon visit other member-states of the Minsk Group, including Belarus, Serbia and Italy.
"We have been recently to Helsinki at the invitation of the Finnish foreign minister," he said. "The main purpose was to inform the Finnish side about the current situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement. We will also visit Minsk, Belgrade because Serbia chairs in the OSCE this year, and Italy."
"One of the positive moments following the meeting of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Paris was that the sides agreed to exchange information on those missing during the war under the auspices of the Red Cross," Andrieu said.
A joint meeting of the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan with OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen was held in Paris on October 27.
The meeting took place at the initiative of French President Francois Hollande. Then a meeting between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia was held.
"As part of the current visit to the region, we will hold meetings with representatives of the Red Cross in Baku and Yerevan," he said. "We would like the Red Cross to start working over this issue as soon as possible because thousands of families want to know about their relatives. This is a sensitive topic, which is included in the measures for rapprochement and understanding."
"This is a small step forward," the French diplomat said.
As for the conflict in Ukraine, Andrieu said that this situation does not affect the coordination of the OSCE Minsk Group.
"We are working as before," he said.
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 the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
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