VIENNA (Armradio) — Noting the current suspension of monitoring exercises by the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office due to the exceptional situation created by the spread of COVID-19, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs (Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stéphane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States of America) appealed to the sides to reaffirm their commitment to observe the ceasefire strictly and refrain from any provocative action that could further raise tensions during this period.

“Recognizing that the region’s medical resources should be dedicated exclusively to combating the spread of the virus and treating those affected, we urge the sides to exercise the greatest possible restraint to lessen the risk of escalation including by making maximum use of the existing direct communication links,” the Co-Chairs said in a statement.

Despite the heavy restrictions on international travel, the Co-Chairs will continue their mediation efforts without interruption, remaining in close contact with each other and with the sides.

Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, announced earlier today that the mission was suspending the monitoring exercises.

“The ongoing situation following the spread of COVID-19 has led to the closure of international borders throughout the region, travel restrictions for international and local staff, as well as restrictions put in place to avoid face-to-face contact to reduce the risk of infection. In view of the above, and following consultations with the sides, monitoring exercises will be suspended until these restrictions are lifted. In the meantime, I continue to be in contact with the relevant military authorities.”

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