Minsk Group Co-Chairs Call for Additional Steps to Reduce Tensions

OSCE Minks Group Co-Chairs (left) meet with Artsakh President Bako Sahakian
OSCE Minks Group Co-Chairs (left) meet with Artsakh President Bako Sahakian

OSCE Minks Group Co-Chairs (left) meet with Artsakh President Bako Sahakian

The Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group visited Stepanakert over the weekend and held meetings with Artsakh President Bako Sahakian and other officials.

Accompanied by the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk, the Minsk Group co-chairs Igor Popov of Russia, Stephane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States toured specific locations in the Kovsakan (Zangelan), Vorotan (Gubatly), Akna (Agdam), Berdzor (Lachin) and Karvachar (Kelbajar) districts.

Following the conclusion of their visit to the region, which included stops in Baku and Yerevan, the Co-Chairs issued an announcement in which they underscored the importance of fulfilling, in good faith, all commitments undertaken during the October 2017 Summit in Geneva and at previous summits, in particular, Vienna and St. Petersburg.

The Co-Chairs expressed deep concern over the recent loss of life on the Line of Contact. The Co-Chairs call upon the Sides to take additional steps to reduce tensions, as agreed in Geneva, and to respect the ceasefire. The Co-Chairs also call upon the Sides to refrain from inflammatory statements and provocative actions.

The Co-Chairs reiterate their commitment to helping the Sides find a peaceful solution to the conflict based on the core principles of the Helsinki Act, including the non-use of force, territorial integrity, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples.

The Co-Chairs welcomed the parties’ expressed intention to continue intensive negotiations, taking into account the current electoral period.

Speaking about the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs statement, Artsakh Foreign Minister Masis Mayilian voiced his regret to Public Radio of Armenia saying, “yet again the mediators failed to make a targeted call, instead urging the parties to take additional steps to reduce tensions.”

He added, however, that it’s clear to everyone that the co-chairs’ statement was directed at Azebaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who late last week told the nation that Azerbaijan will “reclaim the historic Azerbaijani regions” of Zangezour and Yerevan from Armenia.

“We are guided by the reality that we are dealing with an unpredictable rival, and our army is always ready to resist any provocation. We are building out security and defense on the consideration that any development is possible any moment, and this has nothing to do with elections,” Mayilian told Public Radio of Armenia.


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