WASHINGTON (AzerNews)—The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group have common interests to help Azerbaijan and Armenia reach a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, said Richard Hoagland, the U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group.
He made the remarks on May 12 in Washington at the conference entitled “The International Politics of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict.”
There are documents already on the table and the challenge is to help the sides find political will to take a step forward to deliver the peace and stability that the populations deserve, Hoagland said.
The diplomat noted that generations of young people have grown up in Armenia and Azerbaijan and they have no first hand contact with the other side.
“We focus on the principles and commitment that pertain to non-use or threat of force, territorial integrity and equal rights and self-determination of peoples,” Hoagland said, adding that the Minsk Group co-chairs constantly work to bring the sides of the conflict together and develop new approaches for the peace process.
“We haven’t given up, no one has given up,” the diplomat said, adding that everyone is still looking for that final peace.
“We would like to see the [Azerbaijani, Armenian] presidents get together again,” Hoagland said.He added that when such top level negotiations commence, the parties should reconfirm how they will implement the confidence building measures agreed about in 2016 at meetings in Vienna and St. Petersburg.
Following the meeting in St. Petersburg in June 2016, the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents confirmed in a joint statement the agreements reached during the previous Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in Vienna. These agreements are aimed at stabilizing the situation in the conflict zone and the creation of an atmosphere conducive to advancing the peace process.
“Once we get into such peaceful negotiations, there is a much broader range of practical issues that we can put on the table to begin to benefit all sides immediately, including economic and commercial issues,” the diplomat noted.
Hoagland also said the U.S. remains ready to help in any way it can, but it is up to the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan to take the steps necessary for the lasting peace.
“They should consider measures, even unilateral ones, that will demonstrate their strong commitment to making progress, reducing tensions and improving the atmosphere for negotiations, and prepare their populations for peace not war,” Hoagland said, adding that he continues to be optimistic.
The United States, along with Russia and France, is a co-chair country of the Minsk Group established to broker a peace to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
In his remarks at the conference in Washington Hoagland informed that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs will visit the South Caucasus region in June or early July.