OSCE Minsk Group Urges Peaceful Settlement of Karabakh Conflict

PARIS/MOSCOW/WASHINGTON–The Russian, French and American Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group Thursday released a statement stressing the non-use of force as a core element of any just and lasting settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“Despite two reports circulated at the request of the Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the United Nations on December 24 and 29, 2008, there is no military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” ambassadors Bernard Fassier of France, Yury Merzlyakov of Russia, and Matthew Bryza of the United States said in the statement.

The Co-Chairs further underscored that the non-use of force is “a core element of any just and lasting settlement of the conflict.”

“Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Serge Sargsyan described their most recent meeting, in Zurich on January 28 as useful and constructive, despite two Azerbaijani reports circulated in the United Nations General Assembly one month earlier,” the statement said noting that the two presidents reiterated their commitment to the Minsk Group peace process at the conclusion of their Zurich meeting.

Sarkisian and Aliyev, the statement added, asked the Co-Chairs to intensify their efforts to help the parties bridge their remaining differences with regard to the Basic Principles.

In subsequent public statemen’s, both Presidents had underscored their enduring commitment to the Minsk Group’s mediation effort, the statement said. “Therefore, the Minsk Group’s Co-Chairs will visit the region before the end of February to help the parties to accelerate their efforts to finalize the Basic Principles.”

The Co-Chairs also said they would not allow the peace process to "be subverted by legalistic or historical discussions" and concerns expressed by the "parties to the conflict." The statement also noted that the Minsk Group would "remain sensitive" to those concerns, which "must be addressed in due course."

“The Co-Chairs further believe the above-mentioned reports should have no bearing on negotiations within the Minsk Group in pursuit of a peaceful and political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, to which both Presidents committed themselves in their Moscow Declaration of November 2, 2008," the statement concluded.

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