OSCE MG co-chairs mull peace process, Sargsang reservoir status

By: Sara Rajabova

The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have visited the region to review the situation in Azerbaijan’s occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, Kalbajar, and Lachin regions, in accordance with their mandate.

The co-chairs Jacques Faure (France), James Warlick (U.S.) and Igor Popov (Russia) and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Andrzej Kasprzyk, travelled to the region May 16-19, the statement of co-chairs said.

They were joined by Ambassador Pierre Andrieu, who will take over as French co-chair in June.

The co-chairs said in travelling through these areas, they saw signs of improvements in infrastructure, but could not observe any indications that the size of the population had changed in recent years.

They also visited the Sargsang reservoir, which is under Armenian occupation over 20 years, and discussed its status and operations of the facility.

The co-chairs hoped that the sides will reach an agreement to jointly manage these water resources to the benefit of the region.

The co-chairs crossed the line of contact near Azerbaijan’s Terter region on May 19.

The OSCE mission conducted a monitoring on troops contact line in the Tartar-Agdara highway of Tartar region in accordance with the mandate of special envoy of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office.

The co-chairs regretted for the continued ceasefire violations and consequent casualties. They said absence of a mechanism for investigating these ceasefire violations allows the sides to put the blame on each other.

In the course of the visit, the co-chairs paid courtesy calls on senior officials in Yerevan and Baku as well as the separatist authorities in Azerbaijan’s occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and Kalbajar regions, and visited Lachin, which is also under Armenian control.

The Armenian armed forces occupied the Azerbaijan’s Kalbajar region on April 2, 1993.

Lachin, a highland region in the southwest of Azerbaijan which was populated mostly by Azerbaijanis, was seized by the Armenian armed forces on May 18, 1992.

The co-chairs also met with representatives of the Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno-Karabakh in Baku. In their meetings, they discussed elements of the peace process, and stressed that the basis of a lasting settlement remains those elements outlined in statements by the Presidents of the co-chair countries from 2009 to 2013.

The precarious cease-fire between Azerbaijan and Armenia was reached after a lengthy war that displaced over a million Azerbaijanis and has been in place between the two South Caucasus countries since 1994.

Since the hostilities, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions on Armenia’s withdrawal from the Azerbaijani territory, but they have not been enforced to this day.

Peace talks, mediated by Russia, France and the U.S. through the OSCE Minsk Group, are underway on the basis of a peace outline proposed by the Minsk Group co-chairs and dubbed the Madrid Principles. The negotiations have been largely fruitless so far.


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