Baku, Azerbaijan, March 31
The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group have made a statement on the so-called “elections” in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Trend reports on March 31..
“The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs (Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stéphane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States of America) have taken note of the so-called “general elections” in Nagorno-Karabakh, the first round of which took place on March 31,” the statement said.
“In the context of a comprehensive settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Co-Chairs recognize the role of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh in deciding its future in accordance with the principles and elements reiterated in the Co-Chairs’ statement of March 9, 2019,” the statement said. “The Co-Chairs note, however, that Nagorno-Karabakh is not recognized as an independent and sovereign state by any of the Co-Chair countries or any other country.”
“Accordingly, the Co-Chairs do not accept the results of these “elections” as affecting the legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh and stress that the results in no way prejudge the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh or the outcome of the ongoing negotiations to bring a lasting and peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” the statement 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, 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.