The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Igor Popov of the Russia, Stephane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States ) have called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to resume negotiations on a “comprehensive and sustainable” resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The Diplomats from the three world powers expressed readiness late on Tuesday to facilitate such talks, including with renewed visits to the conflict zone.
In a joint statement, they noted “with satisfaction” the conflicting sides’ compliance with the Russian-brokered ceasefire that stopped last year’s Armenian-Azerbaijani war while calling for “additional efforts” to stabilize the situation. “These include issues related to, inter alia: the return of all POWs and other detainees in accordance with the provisions of international humanitarian law, the exchange of all data necessary to conduct effective demining of conflict regions; the lifting of restrictions on access to Nagorno-Karabakh, including for representatives of international humanitarian organizations; the preservation and protection of religious and cultural heritage; and the fostering of direct contacts and co-operation between communities affected by the conflict as well as other people-to-people confidence building measures”.
“The Co-Chairs stress that special attention should be paid to the achievement of a final comprehensive and sustainable settlement on the basis of the elements and principles well-known to the sides,” says the statement.
“In this respect, the Co-Chairs call on the parties to resume high-level political dialogue under the auspices of the Co-Chairs at the earliest opportunity. They reiterate their proposal to organize direct bilateral consultations under their auspices, in order for the sides to review and agree jointly upon a structured agenda, reflecting their priorities, without preconditions.”
“The Co-Chairs underscore their readiness to resume working visits to the region, including Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas, to carry out their assessment and mediation roles,” added the mediators.
In this regard, the Co-Chairs reminded the sides of the requirement to provide unimpeded access and maximum flexibility of movement with regard to the Co-Chairs’ travel itineraries, in accordance with their mandate and previous practice.