VILNIUS, LITHUANIA — On the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council’s meeting in Vilnius, the heads of delegations representing the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries, and the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan adopted a joint statement on Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to the statement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Minister for European Affairs of France Jean Leonetti, as well as Armenian and Azerbaijani FMs Edward Nalbandyan and Elmar Mammadyarov reaffirmed the importance of reaching a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Recalling the November 2008 Moscow Declaration, as well as their countries’ statements at the OSCE Ministerial Council meetings in Helsinki (2008) and Athens (2009), and at the OSCE Summit in Astana (2010), the five delegations head agreed on the need to continue the negotiation process in the OSCE Minsk Group format and to improve the climate for making progress towards a peaceful settlement. As one of the steps in this direction, they agreed that further efforts should be made to work on the details of the mechanism to investigate ceasefire violations that followed Presidents Aliyev, Sargsyan, and Medvedev’s joint statement at the March 2011 Sochi summit.
Noting the May 2011 statement of their Presidents at Deauville, which urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to finalize the Basic Principles for the Peaceful Settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Heads of Delegation of the Minsk Group co-chair Countries expressed regret that the parties have been unable to take this decisive step. The three delegation heads reiterated that there can be no military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and that the United Nations Charter, the Principles of the Helsinki Final Act, and the elements outlined in the joint statements of their Presidents at L’Aquila in July 2009 and Muskoka in June 2010 offer the way for all sides to move beyond the unacceptable status quo to reach a peaceful settlement. In light of the intensive negotiations conducted since the 2007 OSCE Ministerial Council in Madrid, including at the highest level, the three delegation heads urged the parties to give further careful consideration to the co-chairing countries’ proposals.
The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia appreciated the efforts of the co-chairing countries, including the personal engagement of Presidents Medvedev, Obama, and Sarkozy, in assisting their countries to elaborate a framework for a comprehensive peace settlement. They informed the co-chairing countries’ delegation heads that their presidents are ready tohold another joint meeting in the near future to continue their direct dialogue, based upon recent experience, on how to bring peace, stability, and prosperity to their peoples.