By Rashid Shirinov
French co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Stephane Visconti paid a visit to Azerbaijan on December 11-12, the French embassy in Baku reported on December 12.
This is Visconti’s first visit to the region after his participation with other two co-chairs in the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Hamburg and starting to fulfill his duties.
The co-chair was received by Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev on December 12 and also met with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.
During the visit to Baku, Visconti reiterated his country’s commitment to continue the efforts, together with the U.S. and Russia, to facilitate an unbiased and fair settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the embassy said.
The newly appointed French co-chair assumed the office on November 3. His predecessor Pierre Andrieu has held the position since June 2014.
The OSCE Minsk Group, the activities of which have become known as the Minsk Process, works to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for over two decades, but in vain.
Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a lengthy war that ended with the signing of a fragile ceasefire in 1994. Since the war, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.
While the OSCE Minsk Group acted as the only mediator in resolution of the conflict, the occupation of the territory of the sovereign State with its internationally recognized boundaries has been left out of due attention of the international community for years.
Armenia ignores four UN Security Council resolutions on immediate withdrawal from the occupied territory of Azerbaijan, thus keeping tension high in the region.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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