Minsk Group Co-Chairmen Conclude Meeting, Reiterate Previous Calls

MOSCOW (Combined Sources)–The co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group Thursday concluded their meeting, after which they reiterated their calls to the leadership of Armenia and Azerbaijan to come to a compromise settlement for a quick resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Yuri Merzlyakov of Russia, Bernard Fassier of France and Matthew Bryza of the US opted not to issue a new statement, but reiterate the points from a July 13 announcement, which also took into consideration presidential elections in Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Martin Neskin, a spokesperson for the OSCE, told Armenpress the latest meeting in Moscow of the three Minsk Group Co-Chairmen was %u218simply a consultations of the Co-Chairs in the normal course of their duties.”
In the July 13 statement the Minsk Group cochairmen’said “the two sides are approaching 2008 – a year of presidential elections in both Armenia and Azerbaijan, when, as past experience shows, chances for progress will likely be overshadowed by the electoral campaigns.”
“Without an endorsement of the basic principles at the presidential level, it is impossible to start drafting the text of an agreement on the peaceful settlement of the conflict, or to secure the progress of the past three years of negotiations in order not to reopen them from scratch whenever they resume again.”
“The Co-Chairs recognize that preservation of the status quo after thirteen years of "no peace-no war" in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict may seem less difficult for the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan than the mutual compromises that will lead to an equitable and lasting settlement of the conflict and, ultimately, to a new era of peace and prosperity for their people. However if the parties to the conflict choose nevertheless to avoid making courageous decisions now, we as mediators cannot make these decisions in their place.”
The July 13 statement also said that the “Co-Chairs are ready to assist the parties in the preparation for their next summit, at the first opportunity, in the coming months.”

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