OSCE Minsk Group Releases Statement On Regional Visit

Flags of the OSCE participating States (Photo: OSCE/Mikhail Evstafiev)
Flags of the OSCE participating States (Photo: OSCE/Mikhail Evstafiev)

Flags of the OSCE participating States (Photo: OSCE/Mikhail Evstafiev)

WASHINGTON, MOSCOW, PARIS—The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, who visited Baku, Stepanakert and Armenia respectively from October 23-25, released a statement on Wednesday regarding their visit to the region.

In the statement, the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group, Ambassadors Igor Popov of Russia, James Warlick of the U.S., and Pierre Andrieu of France, stated the purpose of their regional visit, saying it was “to discuss the situation after the unprecedented violence last April, and to clarify positions on the negotiation process.”

The Co-Chairs also announced that the OSCE Ministerial Council will “discuss a possible meeting of the Presidents at the earliest opportunity.”

Below reads the full statement.

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The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France), together with the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, traveled to the region from 23 to 25 October 2016.

‪The Co-Chairs met with the Presidents and Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia, Armenia’s newly appointed Defense Minister, and de facto authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh. The purpose of the Co-Chairs’ visit was to discuss the situation after the unprecedented violence last April, and to clarify positions on the negotiation process.

‪During the meetings, the sides confirmed that the situation on the ground remains relatively calm. The Co-Chairs underscored that respect for the ceasefire provides a critical foundation for ongoing negotiations, and stressed the importance of fully implementing decisions taken in Vienna and St. Petersburg.

‪The Co-Chairs also discussed current working proposals to advance substantive negotiations towards a lasting peace. The Presidents each expressed their views on how to move the settlement process forward. The Presidents also reaffirmed their agreement to expand the Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, and operational details are still being discussed.

‪The Co-Chairs plan to meet with the Ministers including on the margins of the December 2016 OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Hamburg to discuss a possible meeting of the Presidents at the earliest opportunity. Such a dialogue at the highest level is necessary to make progress towards a settlement.

‪While in the region, the Co-Chairs also met with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to discuss the work the organization has undertaken on the exchange of data on missing persons, a humanitarian measure which the Co-Chairs have fully supported in meetings with officials at all levels.

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