YEREVAN, September 3. /ARKA/. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Robert Bradtke of the United States of America, Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, and Jacques Faure of France) and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, met on September 2 with the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Edward Nalbandian, and on September 3 with the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov, to address recent events in the region and efforts to peacefully resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the OSCE website said on Monday.
The Co-Chairs discussed with the two Ministers the August 31 decision of the Government of Azerbaijan to pardon Ramil Safarov, an Azerbaijani army officer who had been serving a life sentence in Hungary for the brutal 2004 murder of an Armenian officer in Budapest. They expressed their deep concern and regret for the damage the pardon and any attempts to glorify the crime have done to the peace process and trust between the sides.
The Co-Chairs reiterated to both Ministers that, as their Presidents stated in Los Cabos on June 19, there is no alternative to a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They will continue to maintain contacts with the sides to reduce tensions and advance the peace process.
In a relate development the EU calls on the authorities of Azerbaijan and Armenia to prevent the escalation of tensions in bilateral relations as a result of extradition from Hungary to Azerbaijan of Ramil Safarov, sentenced for the murder of the Armenian officer, said Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
"We call on Azerbaijan and Armenia to show restraint in their public statements to prevent any kind of escalation of the situation," Kocijancic told reporters in Brussels.
She said that the EU, in particular, is concerned about the possible impact that the current situation could have on the region of the South Caucasus as a whole. -0-