The OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries, Azerbaijan, and Armenia agreed to continue working towards a just and lasting peaceful settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Trend reports citing a joint statement by the heads of delegations of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries, Azerbaijan, and Armenia following a session during the OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting in Milan on Dec. 6.
“On the occasion of the OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting in Milan, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries (the Russian Federation, the United States of America, and France) and Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov and Acting Foreign Minister of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan agreed to continue working towards a just and lasting peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” the statement says.
According to the statement, the co-chair countries welcomed the significant decrease in ceasefire violations and reported casualties following the conversation of the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia on the margins of the Commonwealth of Independent States’ summit in Dushanbe in September.
“They appealed to the sides to continue implementing the understandings reached there and to take concrete measures to prepare their populations for peace,” the statement said. “The co-chair countries expressed hope that an intensive results-oriented high-level dialogue between the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia to promote a just and lasting settlement of the conflict can resume in the near future.”
According to the statement, the foreign minister of Azerbaijan and the acting foreign minister of Armenia reaffirmed their commitment to work intensively to promote a peaceful resolution of the conflict and to further reduce tensions.
“They agreed to meet again in early 2019 under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs for this purpose and in order to facilitate high-level talks,” the statement said. “They recognized the strong engagement and good-faith mediation efforts rendered by the co-chair countries, as well as the activities of the personal representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office.”
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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