YEREVAN, July 23. /ARKA/. Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan, who is in Brussels now for a working visit, met OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Igor Popov (Russia), James Warlick (the United States) and Pierre Andrieu (France) as well as Andrzej Kasprzyk, Personal Representative of OSCE CiO, as part of his visit, the press office of Armenia’s foreign ministry reports.
Nalbandyan attracted the co-chairs’ attention to the Azerbaijani leadership’s bellicose rhetoric that distorts the essence and content of the negotiations and that has intensified recently.
He also pointed out the recurring raids on the border with Armenia and on the contact line with Karabakh taken in a gross violation of the ceasefire regime.
The Armenian foreign minister stressed that Azerbaijan’s provocative actions escalate tension, contrary to calls of mediator countries’ leaders for peace.
Ignoring the international community’s calls that have already become targeted, he said, Azerbaijan continues pursuing its destructive and dangerous policy persecuting and jailing those Azerbaijanis who seek peace and reconciliation.
Nalbandyan said Armenia remained steadfast in its determination to continue joint efforts with the co-chairs to settle the conflict by peaceful means.
Karabakh conflict broke out in 1988 when Karabakh, mainly populated by Armenians, declared its independence from Azerbaijan.
On December 10, 1991, a few days after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a referendum took place in Nagorno-Karabakh, and the majority of the population (99.89%) voted for secession from Azerbaijan.
Afterwards, large-scale military operations began. As a result, Azerbaijan lost control over Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven regions adjacent to it. Some 30,000 people were killed in this war and about one million people fled their homes.
On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the military operations.
Since 1992, talks brokered by OSCE Minsk Group are being held over peaceful settlement of the conflict. The group is co-chaired by USA, Russia and France..-0---