Hoagland: OSCE MG co-chairs continue to encourage Azerbaijani, Armenian presidents to meet
The US Government remains committed to a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakhconflict through the mediation of the OSCEMinsk Group co-chair countries, Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland, who assumed the position of US co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group on an interim basis starting in January 2017, told APA on Tuesday.
“The co-chairs are prepared to work with the parties in any way that can bring about a lasting settlement,” he said.
“We continue to encourage the Presidents and Foreign Ministers to meet at the earliest opportunity to continue the important discussion on key issues, including the importance of respecting the ceasefire and taking steps towards fully implementing decisions taken in Vienna and St. Petersburg,” Hoagland added.
Hoagland replaced Ambassador James B. Warlick, who stepped down on December 31, 2016.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in 1988.
A fierce war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the war, Armenian armed forces occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory which includes Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts (Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan), and over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced people.
The military operations finally came to an end when Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in Bishkek in 1994.
Dealing with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the OSCE Minsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the CSCE (OSCE after the Budapest summit held in Dec.1994) Ministerial Council in Helsinki on 24 March 1992. The Group’s members include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belarus, Finland and Sweden.
Besides, the OSCE Minsk Group has a co-chairmanship institution, comprised of Russian, the US and French co-chairs, which began operating in 1996.
Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the UN Security Council, which were passed in short intervals in 1993, and other resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, PACE, OSCE, OIC, and other organizations require Armenia to unconditionally withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh.