VIENNA (Combined Sources) — The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States, and Pierre Andrieu of France, on Thursday urged the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to meet next week and agree on confidence-building measures that would prevent renewed heavy fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh.
In a statement issued from Vienna, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs stressed that “In light of the recent violence and the urgency of reducing tensions along the Line of Contact, we believe the time has come for the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to meet.”
“Our Foreign Ministers are prepared to facilitate this meeting next week in Vienna,” they revealed in a joint statement. “Their main objectives will be to reinforce the ceasefire regime, and to seek agreement on confidence-building measures that would create favorable conditions for resuming negotiations on a comprehensive settlement on the basis of elements and principles under discussion.”
“There can be no success in negotiations if violence continues, and there can be no peace without a negotiation process,” added the U.S., Russian and French mediators. “We reiterate that there is no military solution to the conflict.”
Armenia made clear after the April 2-5 hostilities in Karabakh that it will not negotiate with Azerbaijan unless the latter agrees to safeguards against truce violations. The most important of them is the idea of international investigations of armed incidents along the Karabakh “line of contact” and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
Official Yerevan did not immediately clarify whether President Serzh Sarkisian is prepared to meet with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev. Sarkisian’s office could not be reached for comment.
There was also no immediate reaction from the Azerbaijani side either.
Aliyev and Sarkisian last met in December. The meeting held with the OSCE Minsk Group’s mediation did not result in a breakthrough in the negotiations, nor did it bring any essential tranquility to Karabakh.