STEPANAKERT—Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian welcomed Wednesday an OSCE initiative to investigate cease-fire violations at lines of contact, during a meeting with the co-chairman of the Minsk Gourp, reported the presidential press service.
The co-chairmen, Robert Bradtke of the US, Igor Popov of Russia and Bernard Fassier of France visited Stepanakert after holding talks in Yerevan with President Serzh Sarkisian earlier that day.
Sahakian said that the results of the investigation and any further Minsk Group efforts to strengthen the cease fire regime could play an important role in maintaining peace in the region.
The two sides reaffirmed that a military solution to the conflict was unacceptable and rife with unpredictable consequences.
Sahakian, once again, pointed to the destructive posturing by Azerbaijan and urged the co-chairmen to work toward convincing Baku to change its approach to the peace process.
At the conclusion of their visit, the Co-chairs issued an announcement, wrapping up their trip. Below is the text of the announcement:
The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Bernard Fassier of France, Robert Bradtke of the United States, and Igor Popov of the Russian Federation) traveled to Baku, Yerevan, and Nagorno-Karabakh March 15-17. In Baku, they met with President Ilham Aliyev and Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, and in Yerevan they met with President Serge Sargsian and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian. In Nagorno-Karabakh, they held discussions with the de facto authorities. While in Yerevan, there was also a meeting with the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, the Foreign Minister of Lithuania, Audronius Azubalis, who is traveling in the region. The Co-Chairs were accompanied by the Personal Representative of the OSCE CiO, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk.
In their meetings, the Co-Chairs urged the parties to take advantage of the positive momentum created at the Sochi Summit, hosted on March 5 by President Dmitri Medvedev, and to focus on the priority issues in order to make progress in reaching an agreement on the Basic Principles for Resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict. They also discussed with the parties concrete measures to implement the commitment in the joint statement agreed at Sochi regarding the investigation of violations of the 1994 ceasefire. They stressed that recent events along the Line of Contact, before and after the Sochi Summit, had demonstrated the urgent need for such a mechanism and called upon all the parties to respect the ceasefire. They referred to their longstanding proposal for the withdrawal of snipers, regretted that it has not been implemented, and again urged its adoption, which could save innocent lives.
The Co-Chairs presented their Field Assessment Report to the two Presidents and the de facto authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh. They noted that they would be briefing the Minsk Group in Vienna on the report on March 23 and would have no public comment on it until then.