Russia, in coordination with other co-chairing countries of the OSCE Minsk Group, is ready to continue mediation efforts to assist the parties in developing a mutually acceptable consensus basis for the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. This was stated by the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in response to the statement by the co-chairs of the Minsk Group, the personal representative of the OSCE CiO and the head of the HLPG on Thursday in Vienna.
"We expect that the forthcoming contacts of the co-chairs will give an additional impetus to the peaceful settlement of this long-standing conflict," Lukashevich said.
According to him, the meeting of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia, which took place after a long break in Geneva on October 16, was a significant result of the mediation efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs in the course of active contacts with Baku and Yerevan.
"It is important that, at the end of the summit, the parties agreed to intensify the negotiation process. We are confident that this will further enhance confidence between the parties and, as a result, advance towards a compromise on the essential aspects of the settlement. We hope that the constructive atmosphere established at the meeting of the presidents in Geneva will be preserved at the talks. We count on the effectiveness of the meetings of the co-chairs planned with the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia planned before the end of the year, "Lukashevich said.
The representative of the Russian Federation OSCE considers that the maintenance of peace and stability in the region is a prerequisite for the productive activity of the mediation mission of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.
"In this regard, we highly appreciate the commitment of the sides to take additional measures to reduce tensions on the contact line of the troops. We note again that this goal would be met by the practical implementation of the agreements reached at the talks of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Vienna on May 16 and St. Petersburg on June 20, 2016 to reduce military risks, in particular, the increase in the number of OSCE observers in the conflict zone. We look forward to an early agreement on the expansion of the office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office on the basis of a scheme that will qualitatively enhance the capacity to monitor the situation in the region. The completion of the joint mechanism for investigating armed incidents in the conflict zone would also be in the interests of stability at the contact line of the troops and the Azerbaijani-Armenian border. The implementation of these fundamental agreements would strengthen the positive atmosphere in the dialogue of the parties and further stimulate the negotiation process, "Lukashevich said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.
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