No Alternative to Peaceful Solution to Karabakh Conflict says Minsk Group

OSCE flag with Minsk Group Co-Chair country flags
OSCE flag with Minsk Group Co-Chair country flags

OSCE flag with Minsk Group Co-Chair country flags

MINSK, Germany—The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs met separately–then jointly–with the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers Edward Nalbandian and Elmar Mammadyarov on Thursday in Minsk.

The Minsk Group issued a statement on February 17 relaying the meeting’s discussions. The statement in its entirety can be read below.

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The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stephane Visconti of France and Richard Hoagland of the United States of America) met yesterday with the Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian and the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov, separately and then jointly. The Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, also participated in the meetings.

The Co-Chairs discussed with the Ministers the current situation along the Line of Contact and the Armenia–Azerbaijan border. The Co-Chairs reiterated that there is no alternative to a peaceful solution to the conflict and that war is not an option, and called upon the sides to exercise restraint on the terrain as well as in their public communications and to prepare their population for peace and not for war. The Co-Chairs also urged the Sides to adhere strictly to the 1994/95 ceasefire agreements that constitute the foundation of the cessation of hostilities. The Co-Chairs recalled the May 2011 joint statements of their Presidents in Deauville emphasizing that the use of force would only bring more suffering and devastation and would be condemned by the international community. The Co-Chairs shared their views with the Sides on the steps which should be taken toward implementing decisions from the 2016 Summits in Vienna and St. Petersburg aimed at stabilizing the situation in the conflict zone.

The Co-Chairs stressed to the Ministers the need to demonstrate greater flexibility and to resume comprehensive negotiations on reaching a lasting settlement as soon as possible.

The Co-Chairs recognized that the Armenian authorities’ recent decision to return the body of an Azerbaijani serviceman was a helpful humanitarian gesture. The two Ministers reiterated their commitment to strictly observe their international humanitarian obligations including those of the Astrakhan Declaration of October 2010 issued by the Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the Russian Federation.

The Co-Chairs are aware that a so-called constitutional referendum is scheduled to take place in Nagorno-Karabakh on February 20, 2017. Although the Co-Chairs note that the de-facto Nagorno-Karabakh authorities view the use of such a procedure as an effort to organize the public life of their population, they underscore again that no countries, including Armenia and Azerbaijan, recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent and sovereign state. Accordingly, the Co-Chairs do not accept the results of the referendum on February 20 as affecting the legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Co-Chairs also 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 Co-Chairs plan to travel to the region in March.

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The Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office on Thursday conducted a monitoring mission of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border near the village of Chinari in Armenian provice of Tavush, read a press statement by the Armenian Ministry of Defense. There were no ceasefire violations recorded during the monitoring.

The Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office conducted a monitoring mission along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border on Feb. 16, 2017.

The Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office conducted a monitoring mission along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border on Feb. 16, 2017. (Photo: Ministry of Defense of Armenia)

From the Armenian side, the monitoring was conducted by Field Assistants to the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Jiri Aberle (Czech Republic) and Christo Christov (Bulgaria).

Following the monitoring, the OSCE representatives were briefed on the situation at the frontline and the statistics of the cases of ceasefire violation by Azerbaijani forces.

The OSCE monitors were informed that Azerbaijan keeps the Armenian border villages, pastures and fields under fire.

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6 Comments

  1. Raffi said:

    OSCE can’t come up with something new, how long Armenians should continue under daily ceasefire violations by Azerbaijan, Armenia should not negotiate until the ceasefire is reinstated.

  2. Edward Demiraiakian said:

    These mediating fools speak as if they expect territorial concessions or even worse, as if the option of Azery resumption of soverenty over Karabagh is eminent. I used to think that it was better for Artsackh to be independent, so as to eventually gain a UN seat and vote. I still do, but it seems that in the “new great game” that the big powers are playing, the insignificant Armenian pawn may easily be sacrificed for someone elses good. But a united Armenian/Artsackh state is more tolerable to Russia, than loosing Artsackh and Possibly Armenia. In fact, under Russian umbrella, the Armenians could get away with just about anything. Whose going to risk a Russian Retaliation?

  3. Armen said:

    “The Co-Chairs are aware that a so-called constitutional referendum is scheduled to take place in Nagorno-Karabakh on February 20, 2017. Although the Co-Chairs note that the de-facto Nagorno-Karabakh authorities view the use of such a procedure as an effort to organize the public life of their population, they underscore again that no countries, including Armenia and Azerbaijan, recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent and sovereign state. Accordingly, the Co-Chairs do not accept the result.”

    So, this meeting was to tell the Armenians of Artsakh to stay put and not have any hope of independence from Azeri tyranny.

    This meeting was also to tell the Armenians of Artsakh if you want peace you better not form your independent government and continue being subjugated by the Islamic state of Azerbaijan whose sole intention is to wipe out Armenians from the land where they have lived for thousands of years.

    Never mind the fact that Russia just recently annexed Crimea from Ukraine by referendum of people residing therein “or so they say”; or colonization of numerous African nations by France; or creation of the United States at the expense of the natives; or Turkish massacres of Armenians, Assyrian, Greeks and Kurds and massive theft of Armenian lands — but I digress …

    Here’s what need, no will happen, on February 20, 2017, per the will of the people of Artsakh, they will formally cease from the government of Azerbaijan. This will be done democratically and by the vote of the population whether anyone likes it or not. Once that takes place, any future negotiation without the formal representative of the newly formed government of Artsakh must be considered null and void.

    People of Artsakh have paid and are still paying a huge price fit the past two and half decades. It is time for them to have a seat at the table and to have a say if their children sound live or die.

  4. joe said:

    Yet again the OSCE refrained from accusing Azerbaijan of doing the actual cease fire volitions and referred to the usual nonsense of ‘sides must refrain”. Its clear that the OSCE is impotent at best or in collusion at worst. It also doesn’t matter if they recognized the referendum or its independence. Artsakh IS INDEPENDENT. Has been for many years. Give nothing. It doesn’t belong to them. Yet this requires vigilance and preparedness at all times. A despot Azeri regime will sacrifice everything to maintain control. Agreeing to Karabakh’s independance will never happen. We must be prepared. One Armenia, Artsakh, Diaspora. is the only answer.

    (NOTE) Thank you AZBAREZ for posting comments. it seems the other Armenian outlets sensor everything and actually discourage open discourse. Good or bad we need open dialogue.)

  5. Red-neck Robert said:

    War is not an option?!? . . . What countries do these Co-Chairs represent, and what has been their histories over the past century? Liars like these should have their lying lip taped shut! What happened just 10 months ago, and just what has been done to prevent it from happening again? The latest on this situation is that Israel is proposing to sell the Iron Dome missile system to Azerbaijan’s Aliyev, one among the handful of the world’s worst human rights abusers.
    Let us hope that Sec. of State Tillerson proves able to clean out the nest of evildoers which have comprised that Department for decades.

  6. Raffi said:

    Hit first to defend Armenia and Artsakh, blow up all oil and gas installations and wells, without oil and gas Azerbaijan will have NO money to spend on arms, and will force the hand of Russia to decide the side he wants to defend, I don’t think Russia will be interested to see an invaded Armenia,

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