Baku, Azerbaijan, March 1
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
The leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia accepted the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ proposal to meet soon under their auspices, Trend reports March 1 with reference to the statement by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stephane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the US) met with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Yerevan Feb. 20 and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku Feb. 21 to discuss preparations for a meeting of the leaders in the near future, including possible topics for discussion, according to the statement.
“The Co-Chairs also held discussions with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in their respective capitals,” reads the statement. “The Co-Chairs were joined by the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk. During the meetings in the region, the leaders briefed the Co-Chairs on their recent conversation on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos in January. The leaders and the Co-Chairs discussed the situation on the ground and their expectations for next steps.”
The Co-Chairs assessed positively the continuing lack of casualties on the line of contact. They also welcomed the developing discussions in the region about preparing populations for peace.
“The leaders accepted the Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ proposal to meet soon under their auspices,” says the statement.
Following their visit to the region, the Co-Chairs and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office travelled to Vienna and Bratislava from Feb. 28 to March 1 to brief the Permanent Representatives of the OSCE Minsk Group countries, OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger, and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak, 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 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 Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.
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