VIENNA —  In a statement issued following a video conference of Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Elmar Mammadyarov on June 30, 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, emphasized the importance of promoting and maintaining an atmosphere conducive to peace and favorable to substantive negotiations.

The co-chairs ‎ met separately and jointly via video conference on 29-30 June with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov to discuss the public health situation in the region, current dynamics in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and next steps in the peace process. Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office (PRCIO) Andrzej Kasprzyk also participated in these discussions.

The co-chairs emphasized the importance of promoting and maintaining an atmosphere conducive to peace and favorable to substantive negotiations. They assessed positively the relative stability on the ground and expressed satisfaction that the sides continue to use existing direct communication links to avoid escalation.

Recalling their statement of 9 March, 2019, however, the co chairs noted with concern that recent provocative statements, inflammatory rhetoric, and possible steps intended to change the situation on the ground in tangible ways could undermine the settlement process.

The co chairs stressed that there is no military solution to the conflict. They urged the sides to take additional steps to strengthen the ceasefire and to prepare the populations for peace. The co-chairs also stressed the urgency of resuming monitoring exercises under the leadership of the PRCIO as soon as conditions allow.

The co chairs and Foreign Ministers‎ agreed to hold another joint video conference in July and to meet in person as soon as possible.

Earlier on Tuesday the Armenian Foreign Ministry said that during the meeting, Mnatsakanyan stressed the inadmissibility of Azerbaijan’s warmongering and unconstructive statements, noting that they undermine the environment of the peace process and hinder the implementation of the commitment to prepare the populations for peace.

At the same time, Minister Mnatsakanyan underscored the need to consistently ensure the comprehensive security of the people of Artsakh, including through free and safe movement.

In the course of the meeting, the possibilities of face to face meetings and the Co-Chairs’ visit to the region were discussed, depending on the evolving situation with the pandemic. At the same time, the parties emphasized their readiness to continue virtual contacts next month. -0-

 

 

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