YEREVAN, March 5./ ARKA/. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group will visit the region in the near future, Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported yesterday following the meeting of Armenian Foreign Minister with the Co-Chairs.
On March 3, FM Edward Nalbandian met with the Co-Chairs Igor Popov, Jacques Faure and Ian Kelly as well as the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk in Paris.
“Issues relating to the settlement process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were discussed. The participants touched upon the proposal of the Co-Chairs made during the previous meeting on confidence building measures,” the source stated.
Edward Nalbandian drew the Co-Chairs’ attention to the fact that after the previous two Paris meetings between the Co-Chairs and the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani side not only ignored publishing the agreed upon texts of the joint press releases, but in their manner which became habitual, presented comments which had no relation to the content of the discussions during the meetings.
“It has become habitual for the Azerbaijani side to reject the proposals of the Co-Chairs, and then express concerns about the state of the negotiation process,” Foreign Affairs Ministry said.
Minister Nalbandian once again thanked the Co-Chairs for their important and significant mediation efforts, expressions of which are also the joint statements of the heads of the Co-Chair states in L’Aquila, Muskoka, Deauville and Los Cabos.
The Foreign Minister reassured that Armenia together with the Co-Chairs will continue the efforts aimed at the exclusively peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
As Azerbaijan declared its independence from the Soviet Union and removed the powers held by the Karabakh’s government, the Armenian majority voted in 1991, December 10, to secede from Azerbaijan and in the process proclaimed the enclave the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. Full-scale fighting, initiated by Azerbaijan, erupted in the late winter of 1992. International mediation by several groups including Europe's OSCE’s failed to bring an end resolution that both sides could work with.
In the spring of 1993, Armenian forces captured regions outside the enclave itself. By the end of the war in 1994, the Armenians were in full control of most of the enclave and also held and currently control seven regions beyond the administrative borders of Nagorno-Karabakh. Almost 1 million people on both sides have been displaced as a result of the conflict. A Russian- -brokered ceasefire was signed in May 1994 and peace talks, mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group, have been held ever since by Armenia and Azerbaijan. -0-