ATHENS (RFE/RL)–The foreign ministers of over 50 countries making up Europe’s largest security structure praised Armenia and Azerbaijan late Wednesday for their latest pledge to “work intensively” to overcome disagreements hampering the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“We urge the parties to sustain the positive dynamic of the negotiations and strongly support their commitment to finalize the Basic Principles on the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, based on the Madrid Document in order to begin drafting a comprehensive peace agreement in good faith and without delay,” they said in a joint statement issued at the end of a two-day conference held in Athens.
“We are convinced there is today a real opportunity to build a future of peace, stability, and prosperity for the entire region,” the ministers added on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
They welcomed in that regard a joint declaration adopted on Tuesday by the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers as well as top diplomats from the United States, Russia and France, the three nations co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group on Karabakh. The declaration said the conflicting parties reaffirmed their “commitment to work intensively to resolve the remaining issues” and cut a framework deal based on the internationally recognized principles of “non-use of force or threat of force, territorial integrity, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”
The OSCE foreign ministers also voiced support for those principles. Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, emphasized the importance of their joint statement, at a late-night news conference. He said it is the first document of its kind adopted by at an OSCE ministerial conference in a decade.