STEPANAKERT (Combined Sources)—The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen met with Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian as part of their tour of the region to promote the peace process.
Robert Bradtke (USA), Igor Popov (Russian Federation) and Bernard Fassier (France) discussed issues related to the Karabakh conflict resolution and regional developments.
President Sahakian emphasized that Azerbaijan continues its anti-Armenian and anti-Karabakh propaganda, violates the cease-fire regime and expands its military, thus hindering prospects to resolve the conflict maintain stability and security in the region.
Sahakian said that bringing Azerbaijan into a constructive course was among the mpre pivotal issues of the conflict resolution process.
The parties emphasized the importance of continuing the negotiation process based on a direct dialogue and stressed the unacceptability of any forceful solution.
The co-chairmen’s visit to Karabakh was aimed at strengthening the cease-fire regime along the Karabakh-Azerbaijan border, which has seen increased sniper attacks in recent weeks.
In Yerevan, the co-chairmen met with President Serzh Sarkisian, Foreign Minister Nalbandian and, in a new twist, His Holiness Karekin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians.
While in Baku, the co-chairmen also met the spiritual leader of Azerbaijan, Sheikh ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade.
Igor Popov, Russia’s Minsk Group Co-chair, said that during a scheduled meeting in November of Caucasus religious leaders in Yerevan, the mediators hope that an appeal for peace will emanate from the meeting.
“We discusses issues related to reducing tension between the sides to the conflict, in particular, a package of mechanisms to investigate incidents along the line of contact,” added Popov.
Foreign Minister Nalbandian again cited the increasing war rhetoric from Baku in an interview he gave to the Russian Interfax news agency.
Nalbandian told Interfax that the international community has repeatedly warned Azerbaijan that use of force was not only unacceptable, but also inadmissible.
“There was a very clear and strong message by the presidents of the co-chairing countries from Deauville on a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict having no alternative. Somebody should pay very serious attention to it,” said Nalbandian.
He also announced that several days ago in Vienna, the Minsk Group co-chairs, the OSCE, other international organizations and the UN Secretary General called for the withdrawal of snipers and strengthening of the cease-fire.
“There was a proposal for reaching an agreement on the non-use of force or threat of force. We support all of these proposals, but Azerbaijan is against them. This is another indication that the leadership of Azerbaijan, in fact, is not ready for a resolution. They have in mind some other plans that could entail dangerous consequences not only for the region, but in the first place, for Azerbaijan itself,” added Nalbandian.