UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has voiced hope that the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents’ meeting held in Bern on December 19 will bring the countries closer to finding peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, RIA Novosti reported.
"The summit offered the sides an opportunity to discuss practical steps of reducing the ceasefire violations and the number of civilian casualties, as well as to develop the ways to bring the peace process closer”, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said.
Ban Ki-moon also stressed the activities of the OSCE MG co-chairs, who organized the summit in Switzerland.
The peace talks, mediated by Russia, France and the U.S. through the OSCE Minsk Group on the basis of the Madrid Principles have been largely fruitless so far despite the efforts of the co-chair countries over 20 years.
The sides to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict currently hold talks based on the renewed Madrid principles, which envisage return of occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijani control, ensure the right of all internally displaced persons and refugees to return to their former places of residence, future determination of the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh and etc.
The UN Secretary-General further urged Baku and Yerevan to cooperate closely with the Minsk Group on further de-escalation of the situation and to refrain from actions that could lead to new violence.
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.
Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
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