VIENNA (Combined Sources)—During a special meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe Tuesday, the recent military aggression against the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was discussed, as the Minsk Group tasked with the resolving the conflict issued a statement “condemning” the latest escalation.
The permanent council meeting was presided over by the US OSCE Minsk Group co-chairman James Warlick and the Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, who briefed the 57 OSCE participating States about recent developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Warlick and Kasprzyk welcomed news about the cessation of hostilities and urged the sides to respect the ceasefire. They stressed that it is important to return to the political process on the basis of a sustainable ceasefire. OSCE participating States agreed that the latest escalation is deeply worrysome and that it is necessary for the OSCE to continue playing a central role in facilitating a peaceful settlement. All participating States should support the activities of the Minsk Group and those of its Co-Chairs.
The Co-Chairs announced that they will travel to the region shortly, together with Ambassador Kasprzyk. Ambassador Kasprzyk will also travel to the areas affected by the military escalation as soon as the situation permits.
In Berlin, the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said: “Reports on the cessation of hostilities are encouraging. Our immediate efforts must now focus on stabilizing the ceasefire and preventing any new escalation. Hostilities must stop in an effective and lasting way. In this regard, I welcome the early visit of the Co-Chairs to the region. I remain in close contact with the sides and other international actors.”
Separately, the OSCE Minsk Group issued the following statement:
We, the representatives of the OSCE Minsk Group countries (Russian Federation, the United States of America, France, Belarus, Finland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Turkey), as well as the incoming Austrian OSCE Chair (2017) and the Serbian OSCE Chair (2015), strongly condemn the outbreak of unprecedented violence along the Line of Contact. We extend our condolences to all affected families. We urge the sides to cease using force immediately. There is no military solution to the conflict.
The deterioration of the situation on the ground demonstrates the need for an immediate negotiation, under the auspices of the Co-chairs, on a comprehensive settlement.
The representatives of the Minsk Group member states affirm their support for the Russian, American, and French Co-Chairs’ mediation efforts and welcome their plans to undertake direct consultations with the sides as soon as possible.