OSCE Minsk Group preparing Presidents’ meeting on Karabakh settlement
The OSCE Minsk Group cochairs, tasked in mediation of the peace talks over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, have finished their visit to the South Caucasus region last weekend. The visit was mainly aimed at preparing the upcoming high-level meeting on the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.
On October 6, the co-chairs Stephane Visconti of France, Igor Popov of Russia, Andrew Schofer of the U.S., as well as Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk, met with Armenian President in Yerevan, and on the next day, the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received the diplomats in Baku.
At the meeting in Baku, the parties discussed the current state and prospects of negotiations on the settlement of the NagornoKarabakh conflict and talked about the upcoming high-level meeting.
For more than two decades, Armenia and Azerbaijan are in a state of war following Yerevan’s aggression, ethnic cleansing policy and illegal territorial claims against Azerbaijan in early 1990s.
More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the largescale hostilities.
Today, Armenia keeps under control over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including NagornoKarabakh and seven adjacent regions. To this day, Armenia has not implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions.
After meeting with Minsk Group co-chairs, President Aliyev received the new U.S. co-chair of the MG, Andrew Schofer. The head of state wished the co-chair success in his activities, saying the previous U.S. co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group together with other co-chairs spared no efforts towards the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The President further expressed his regret that the conflict has not yet been settled, saying the reason behind this is that Armenia is trying to keep the current status quo unchanged and does not withdraw its troops from the occupied lands, ignoring the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
Noting the negotiations have currently been resumed, President Aliyev said that constructive efforts were made to find a fair solution to the conflict based on the norms of international law. He underlined Azerbaijan’s interest in the soonest settlement of the conflict.
Schofer, in turn, also pointed out the status quo is unacceptable, adding that the OSCE Minsk Group will spare no efforts to contribute to the peaceful settlement of the conflict based on the international law.
Soon after the meeting with Azerbaijani President, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs issued a statement summing up their visit to the South Caucasus region.
The statement says that Presidents of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan confirmed their readiness to reengage in negotiations for reaching a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Information on the forthcoming summit will be released in the near future, the message says.
The meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents is long overdue in order to achieve breakthrough in the process of settlement of the long-standing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Azerbaijan has long ago stated it is ready to settle the conflict through direct negotiations with Armenia with mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. However, the Armenian side is constantly trying to make up reasons to avoid a constructive dialogue and preserve the unacceptable status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh. Due to this position of the occupier country, the process of the resolution of the conflict lasts for many years, and no tangible results have been achieved so far.
Hopefully, the coming meeting between the heads of state will make a considerable contribution to the settlement process, and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be resolved in the foreseeable future, with respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.