YEREVAN, September 28. /ARKA/. OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs Igor Popov (Russia), Jacques Faure (France) and James Warlick (US) made a statement after their meetings with foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan confirming their commitment to support the Karabakh peace process based on principles of non-use of force or threat of force, equal rights and right to self-determination.
Armenian and Azeri foreign ministers Edward Nalbandyan and Elmar Mamediarov met in New York Friday.
The statement says the ministers and co-chairs continued discussions around the settlement of Karabakh conflict.
The co-chairs referred to the June 18 statement of presidents of OSCE MG countries and once again called upon the sides to refrain fr om any actions and rhetoric that may lead to escalation in the region.
The June 18 joint statement of Vladimir Putin, Barak Obama and Francois Ollande expressed certainty that further delay in achieving a balanced framework agreement toward comprehensive peaceful settlement is unacceptable.
Armenian foreign ministry’s statement also says heads of Armenian and Azeri foreign ministries confirmed determination to reach a peaceful settlement.
The co-chairs said they are planning to visit the region in November to discuss issues concerning the meeting of the two countries’ presidents scheduled for the end of the year.
The Karabakh conflict started in 1988 when prevailingly Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh declared withdrawal from Azerbaijan. On December 10, 1991, a referendum was held in Nagorno-Karabakh wh ere 99.89% voted for independence from Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan responded by large-scale military operations that led to loss of control not only over Nagorno-Karabakh itself, but also over seven adjoining areas. About 25-30 thousands people were killed and about a million had to leave their homes during the military operations.
A trilateral cease-fire agreement was signed on May 12, 2004, and has been followed since then.
The ongoing Karabakh peace process started in 1992 under auspices of OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by the USA, Russia and France. -0-