BAKU, Azerbaijan (A.W.)—The Co-Chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group expressed deep concern over the recent violations of the Artsakh ceasefire, resulting in casualties on the Line of Contact (LoC), after meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on June 19.

OSCE Minsk Group meeting with Azerbaijan President Aliyev (Photo: Office of the President of Azerbaijan)

In a statement released by Ambassadors Igor Popov of Russia, Stephane Visconti of France, and Richard Hoagland of the U.S. following their visit to the region, the co-chairs appealed to the leadership of Azerbaijan to avoid further escalation and sent the “same message to the leadership of Armenia and de facto authorities of Nagorno-Karabagh,” encouraging the sides to consider measures that would reduce tensions on the LoC and the international border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The statement did not single out one side for being responsible for the recent escalation of violence.

Popov, Visconti, and Hoagland, together with the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, traveled to the region in June to discuss the position of the sides towards the next steps in the Artsakh peace process after the trilateral ministerial meeting in Moscow on April 28, as well as the overall situation in the conflict zone.

The Co-Chairs met with Armenian President Serge Sarkisian in Yerevan on June 10, and with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku on June 19.  In both capitals, they also held consultations with the Foreign and Defense Ministers.

The Co-Chairs also traveled to Artsakh to meet with what they called the “de facto authorities,” and visited the Kovsakan (Zangelan), Vorotan (Kubatly), Berdzor (Lachin), and Karvajar (Kelbajar) districts.

A scene from the meeting with Armenian President Serge Sarkisian (Photo: Press Office of the President of Armenia)

According to the statement, the Co—Chairs also met with the “Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabagh” in Baku.

“In both capitals, the Co-Chairs called upon the parties to re-engage in negotiations on substance, in good faith and with political will. They underscored that this is the only way to bring a lasting peace to the people of the region, who expect and deserve progress in the settlement of the conflict. The Presidents expressed their intention to resume political dialogue in an attempt to find a compromise solution for the most controversial issues of the settlement,” read a part of the statement.

The Co-Chairs will travel to Vienna to brief the members of the Minsk Group on July 3. They also plan to meet again soon with the Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers.

Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: OSCE Expresses ‘Deep Concern’ Over Recent Ceasefire Violations After Meeting with Aliyev