Armenian, Azerbaijani presidents confirm commitment for meeting by yearend

By: Sara Rajabova

The Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents confirmed their commitment to hold a summit under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs before the end of the year to discuss key elements of a settlement and other issues.

The co-chairs made such statement following their visit to the region that intended to secure presidential summit to mull the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution before yearend.

OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, Ambassadors Igor Popov of Russia, James Warlick of the U.S., and Pierre Andrieu of France, together with Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, traveled to the region on October 26-28.

They met with the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents and foreign ministers, as well as the de facto authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh.

“We stressed to the presidents the dangers of violence along the line of contact and Armenia-Azerbaijan border. The use of heavy weapons, such as mortars and rocket launchers, is unacceptable and presents a serious danger to the civilian population,” the co-chairs said in the latest statement published on October 29.

They voiced deep regret over the casualties and loss of life among innocent civilians and expect the sides to take every step to avoid violence.

The co-chairs also raised existing proposals designed to stabilize the security situation and create a more constructive atmosphere for negotiations, according to the report.

The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs also voiced support to a dialogue between Armenian and Azerbaijani communities for resolution of the long-standing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“We encourage dialogue among all those affected by the conflict as an essential part of the peace process, and support programs that bring Armenians and Azerbaijanis together,” the mediators said.

“We also met with the representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Yerevan to discuss the implementation of a data exchange on missing persons, a humanitarian measure we fully support,” the co-chairs further said.

For over two decades, Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in the exhausting conflict. Since a war in the early 1990s, the Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions.

A fragile ceasefire has been in place since 1994, but long-standing efforts by U.S., Russian and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far.

Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council’s four resolutions on its pullout from the neighboring country’s territories.