Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov.2
By Leman Zeynalova - Trend:
The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group stressed the importance of sustaining a climate of trust for intensive negotiations on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, said the statement issued by the co-chairs following their visit to the region.
The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stéphane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States of America), together with the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk, visited the region from 29 October to 2 November.
The main purpose of the visit was to discuss the results of the conversation between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan on the margins of the CIS summit in Dushanbe in September, outline next steps in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, and review the overall evolution of the situation on the ground.
The Co-Chairs met with Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Yerevan on 29 October and with President Ilham Aliyev in Baku on 1 November.
In both capitals, they held consultations with the respective foreign ministers and defense ministers.
In Baku, the Co-Chairs met with representatives of Azerbaijani communities affected by the conflict.
While in the region, the Co-Chairs discussed the situation with representatives from the ICRC and UNHCR.
In their meetings with the Co-Chairs, the leaders in both capitals confirmed that the level of violence has fallen significantly since they reaffirmed in Dushanbe their commitment to reduce tensions. In their consultations, the Co-Chairs received additional details about the implementation of the Dushanbe understanding, including with regard to the establishment of direct communication links.
The Co-Chairs welcomed these developments, commended the sides for implementing constructive measures in good faith, and expressed support for the leaders’ readiness to continue their dialogue.
The Co-Chairs stressed the importance of sustaining a climate of trust for intensive negotiations on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The Foreign Ministers agreed to meet again before the end of the year.
The Co-Chairs will soon travel to Vienna to brief the OSCE Permanent Council and the members of the Minsk Group.
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.