OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs urges parties to enter into negotiations
YEREVAN, May 12. /ARKA/. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group on Nagorno-Karabakh (representing Russia, France and the USA) urged the sides to the conflict, Armenia and Azerbaijan, to enter into constructive negotiations to find a lasting settlement, the OSCE reported.
The Co Chairs Jacques Faure (France), Igor Popov (Russia) and James Warlick (USA) pointed out the last year November resumption of high-level dialogue between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan and called on the parties to commit to active people-to-people contacts and security confidence building measures, Novosti-Armenia reported referring to RIA Novosti.
‘The absence of a final settlement has resulted in the ongoing displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, the perpetual threat of escalating violence along the international border and the Line of Contact, and a misconception in some quarters that the status quo can be sustained indefinitely’, says the statement.
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 where 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-