OSCE Minsk Group’s Co-Chairmen to Visit Armenia
Azerbaijan, Baku / Тrend corr E. Huseynov / The co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group on peaceful settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will visit the South Caucasus region on 22 May, the Russian co-chairman of the Minsk Group, Yuri Merzlakov, reported on 21 May.
The mission of mediators will arrive in Yerevan, Armenia on the evening of 22 May a will hold two day consultations with the administration of Armenia. "We intend to continue coordination of basic principles of the settlement that we have been doing in the last year," Merzlakov said. The organization of the next round of direct negotiations between the Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents planned for June in St Petersburg will be on the agenda of the consultations.
After talks in Yerevan the mediators will visit Baku and hold the similar negotiations with the representatives of the Azerbaijani administration. The Russian diplomat noted that they would not visit the Nagorno-Karabakh due to lack of time.
The delegation will include the Russian and French co-chairmen of the Minsk Group, Yuri Merzlakov and Bernard Facie. The US co-chairman, Mathew Bryze, will not attend this mission. "This time Bryze cannot visit the region, but he will do next time during the regular visit of the co-chairmen to be held in the first half of June," the Russian diplomat said. Next time the co-chairmen will visit the South Caucasus after the visit of the acting OSCE Chairman, the Foreign Minister of Spain, Miguel Angel Moratinos, scheduled for 4-5 June. The mediators will discuss the possibility of a meeting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents, Robert Kocharian and Ilham Aliyev, likely to be held on 10 June in St Petersburg.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries broke out in 1988 in view of Armenia's territorial claims to Azerbaijan. Some 20% of Azerbaijani territory (Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 nearby regions) have been occupied by Armenian Armed Forces since 1992. In May of 1994 a ceasefire agreement was signed between the sides. Peaceful negotiations under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by Russia, France and the United States are still fruitless.