The OSCE Minsk Group (MG) is encouraged by the outcome of Vienna meeting of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement, the OSCE MG's US co-chair James Warlick told Trend on May 17.
A meeting was held in Vienna on May 16 involving President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, French Minister of State for European Affairs Harlem Desir, OSCE Minsk group co-chairs, and special representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk.
"We are very encouraged by the outcome of yesterday's meetings," Warlick said. "Both presidents committed themselves to respect the ceasefire, put in place important confidence-building measures, and begin negotiations next month that can lead to a comprehensive settlement."
The presidents demonstrated the political will to move beyond the status quo in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and take steps that can benefit all the people in the region, he said.
The US and the OSCE MG co-chairs stand ready to assist in whatever way they can, said Warlick.
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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