Baku, Azerbaijan, June 23
By Anakhanum Idayatova – Trend:
OSCE Minsk Group’s US co-chair James Warlick says the meetings between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia “bring us closer to a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
“We are hopeful that the situation along the line of contact will remain stable,” he said speaking to Trend June 23. “These developments are important and allow us to make progress on a comprehensive settlement.”
Presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, Vladimir Putin, Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan adopted a joint statement following their meeting in St. Petersburg June 20.
Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents confirmed the agreements reached during the Vienna meeting May 16 on stabilizing the situation in the conflict zone and creating an atmosphere to push forward the peace process. For that purpose, the sides agreed to increase the number of international observers in the conflict zone.
Warlick added that the presidents stated in St. Petersburg their respect for the ceasefire as they did at the May 16 meeting in Vienna.
“Presidents committed to measures that will reduce the risk of future violence, and agreed on the need for resuming negotiations on a comprehensive settlement,” 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 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.