OSCE Ready to Organize Meeting between Armenia & Azerbaijani Defence Ministers – OSCE Representative
Great Britain, London / Тrend corr G. Ahmadova / OSCE is prepared to organize the next meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani Defence Ministers should the parties involved in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict be interested. "I don't think either side is interested in the meeting now. But should both sides show interest, we are ready," OSCE Chairman-in-office's personal representative, Andrzej Kasprzyk, said in London on 24 September while commenting on the possibility of the next meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani Defence Ministers.
Kasprzyk did not make it clear why he considered the conflicting parties not to be interested in the next meeting of the defence ministers. He did however mention that the Armenian Defence Minister, Serj Sarkisyan, was replaced in summer.
The last time the defence ministers, Serj Sarkisyan and Safar Abiyev met in Idjevan-Gazakh area of Armenian-Azerbaijani border on 20 October 2006 within the framework of the arrangements to improve mutual trust. The meeting was initiated by Kasprzyk. Border control and maintenance of the armistice was mainly discussed at the meeting.
The conflict between the two countries of South Caucasus began in 1988 due to territorial claims by Armenia against Azerbaijan. Armenia has occupied 20% of the Azerbaijani land including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding Districts. Since 1992, these territories have been under the occupation of the Armenian Forces. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France and USA) are currently holding peaceful negotiations.