By Rashid Shirinov
The final decision on the expansion of the office of the personal representative of the OSCE chairperson-in-office has not yet been made, Spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said at a press conference on July 12.
“In 2016, the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia discussed steps aimed at stabilizing the situation in the conflict zone and creating an atmosphere conducive to advancing the peace process. To this end, they agreed, in particular, to increase the number of international observers in the conflict zone,” she said.
The spokeswoman noted that this topic was discussed during the subsequent contacts of the parties, including the meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers in Krakow at the beginning of this year, and a fundamental understanding was reached on the number of additional observers, their locations, as well as a number of other related issues.
“However, the parties have not yet made a final decision on them,” Zakharova said.
The spokeswoman added that the first ministerial consultations will be held in the near future.
“Then, we hope, there will be more meetings, where the parties will have the opportunity to consider a wide range of issues of the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, including the issue of observers,” she said.
Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a lengthy war that ended with 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.
Until now, 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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