By Abdul Kerimkhanov
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs’ current visit to Nagorno Karabakh is another trip within the implementation of the existing mandate, spokesperson for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Leyla Abdullayeva said on October 16.
She was commenting on the question whether the route of the OSCE MG co-chairs, who are visiting the region from Yerevan to Nagorno-Karabakh and only then Baku, has been agreed with both parties or whether it is the co-chairs’ decision themselves and may be considered as disrespect for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.
Answering the question, Abdullayeva clarified that the OSCE MG co-chairs carry out their mediation activity to resolve the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of the existing mandate, which has also been approved by Azerbaijan.
She further stressed that during the visits, the co-chairs traditionally maintain contacts with both the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region.
"Similar trips have been made before repeatedly and are considered by Azerbaijan as an activity within the ongoing efforts to resolve the conflict on the basis of the norms and principles of international law by observing Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity," she concluded.
OSCE MG co-chairs - Igor Popov (Russia), Stephane Visconti (France), and Andrew Schofer (the U.S.), as well as Andrzej Kasprzyk, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson - visited occupied Nagorno-Karabakh on October 16.
The co-chair from Russia shared his thoughts regarding the further advancement of the negotiation process on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Popov told reporters that the international mediators have discussed the results of the meeting in New York between Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov and its Armenian counterpart Zohrab Mnatsakanyan.
He presented their approaches and visions on the humanitarian issues that were discussed with the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at the Vienna Summit on March 29 and the meeting in Moscow between Azerbaijani, Armenian and Russian FMs on April 15.
As Popov added, if the FMs of the two countries agree, their next meeting will be held in December in Slovakia as part of the forum in Bratislava.
The OSCE Minsk Group has been negotiating the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict since 1992.
The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh region began in February 1988 upon Armenia's territorial claims to Azerbaijan. The authorities of Azerbaijan lost control over the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding seven regions during the subsequent military conflict.
Since 1992, negotiations have been underway for a peaceful settlement of the conflict within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. In 1993, the UN Security Council adopted four resolutions (822, 853, 874 and 884) on unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces from Azerbaijan's territories. However, due to the unconstructiveness of Armenia, these resolutions remain on paper.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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