STEPANAKERT—The Co-Chairs of the mediating OSCE Minsk Group met with several Armenian and Artsakh officials over the weekend, as they visited the region and conducted monitoring missions.
The President of Artsakh, Bako Sahakian, received the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk group on Monday in Stepanakert. The President opened the meeting by congratulating the newly appointed French co-chairman Pierre Andrieux for taking the post, expressing hope that he would continue active participation in the process of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict’s peaceful settlement.
Bako Sahakian expressed gratitude to the former French co-chairman Jacques Faure for impartial and efficient work. Referring to the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict settlement process President Sahakian underlined that Stepanakert was committed to its peaceful settlement within the framework of the Minsk Group.
The President stressed that freedom and independence are exceptional values for Artsakh and any return to the past both in terms of status and borders is impossible.
The current situation along the border line and regional trends were also touched upon.
On Monday, in accordance with the arrangement reached with the authorities of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, the OSCE Mission conducted a planned monitoring of the line of contact between the armed forces of Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan in the Martakert-Tartar road section, with the participation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmen.
The monitoring was led by the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk.
From the positions of the NKR Defense Army, the monitoring was conducted by Field Assistants of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Yevgeny Sharov (Ukraine) and Khristo Khristov (Bulgaria)
From the opposite side of the line of contact, the monitoring was conducted by Field Assistant of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Jiri Aberle (Czech Republic) and staff member of the Office Peter Svedberg.
During the monitoring, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmen and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office crossed the border from the Karabakh side to Azerbaijani territory.
From the Karabakh side, the monitoring mission was accompanied by representatives of the Artsakh Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense.
On Friday, May 16, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian received the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Igor Popov, Jacques Faure and James Warlick and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Andrzej Kasprzyk.
The Armenian Foreign Minister and the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs discussed the avenues of furthering the process of peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict.
Touching upon the 20th anniversary of the establishment of ceasefire marked last week, Edward Nalbandian noted that for 2o years Azerbaijan has been violating not only the ceasefire concluded between Azerbaijan, Karabakh and Armenia on May 12, 1994, but also the agreement on the strengthening of the ceasefire reached in the same trilateral format on February 4, 1995.
“Azerbaijan constantly organizes provocations at the border with Armenia and the line of contact with Nagorno Karabakh, refuses to fulfill the mediators’ initiatives to withdraw snipers from the line of contact and create mechanisms of investigation of border incidents, which causes serious damage to the efforts of Armenia and the OSCE Minsk Group to advance the negotiation process,” Nalbandian said.
Edward Nalbandian noted that some hope emerged after the meeting of the two countries’ presidents in November 2013 that it could be possible to further the negotiation process. However, yet again the Azerbaijani side made a step back.
The Armenian Foreign Minister noted that with its non-constructive policy and the refusal from many of the Co-Chairs’ proposals, Baku hinders progress in the negotiation process and does its best to maintain the status quo.
Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian received the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs James Warlick, Jacques Faure and Igor Popov and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk.
Issues related to the situation at the line of contact and the developments after the latest meeting on February 5 were discussed.
The Armenian Defense Minister presented the main incidents at the line of contact and outlined his proposals on the perspectives of mitigation of tension and establishment of mutual trust.
Seyran Ohanian added that any political decision on the settlement of the conflict should be consolidated by well-grounded professional conclusions.
During the meeting French Co-Chair Jacques Faure introduced his successor Pierre Andieux.
President Serzh Sarkisian also met with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. At the beginning of the meeting, the new French Co-Chair Pierre Andieux was presented to the president by Jacques Faure.
Serzh Sarkisian highly appreciated the activities of Co-Chair Jacques Faure and expressed gratitude for his vital mission carried out in the negotiation process so far.
At the meeting, President Serzh Sarkisian and the co-chairs discussed issues concerning the current peaceful settlement process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the subsequent steps.