Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 22
The OSCE Minsk Group has said it appreciates the interest of PACE in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
"The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France - welcome efforts to find a negotiated settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and are prepared to work cooperatively with those committed to a peaceful settlement," read a statement posted on the OSCE website Jan. 22.
"We understand that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) may consider resolutions on the conflict in the near future and remind PACE, and other regional and international organizations, that the Minsk Group remains the only accepted format for negotiations," said the OSCE Minsk Group.
"We appreciate the interest paid by PACE members, but urge that steps not be taken which could undermine the Minsk Group's mandate from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe or complicate ongoing negotiations," according to the statement.
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 withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.