ArmInfo. Heads of delegations of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries (Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Secretary of State for European and Foreign Affairs Jean-Baptiste Lemoine, and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Phil Ricker) made a statement emphasizing strong commitment to mediation in the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The statement received by ArmInfo from the OSCE, in particular, notes that the heads of delegation of the co-chairing countries positively note the relatively low incidence of violence on the contact line and the international border and express gratitude to the parties for the direct use of direct communication links to reduce the risk of escalation, in accordance with a ministerial agreement reached during consultations in Washington in June.
"We welcome the concrete steps taken last year to reduce tensions and prepare the population for peace, as the co-chairing countries called for in the Milan statement in December 2018 and in accordance with the ministers' agreement in Paris in January 2019. We highly appreciate the efforts to implement humanitarian measures discussed by leaders during their meeting in Vienna in March and developed by foreign ministers in Moscow in April, in particular, the recently completed exchange of journalists and the simultaneous release of prisoners on 28 June nya, "the statement said.
At the same time, the heads of delegation of the three co-chairs noted that such efforts play an important role in creating an atmosphere conducive to substantive negotiations for a peaceful settlement, while the heads of three delegations call for additional specific humanitarian and security measures.
The heads of delegation of the co-chairing countries urge the parties to immediately take concrete steps to implement the previously reached agreements on humanitarian and security measures. "Given the terrible suffering of the relatives of the victims, we urge the parties to redouble their efforts to help the International Committee of the Red Cross exchange data on missing persons, as two leaders announced at the Paris summit in October 2014. Recognizing the significant contribution of the Personal Representative The current chairman in support of the ceasefire, we note the need to resume discussions on expanding the monitoring mission of the current co-chair, as the parties agreed in 2016, "emphasized stated in the statement.
At the same time, the heads of delegations welcome the intention of the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia to meet again at the beginning of 2020 under the auspices of the co-chairs in order to intensify negotiations on key issues of a peaceful settlement and to facilitate further negotiations at the highest level. The heads of delegation of the co-chairing countries reiterate that a fair and sustainable settlement should be based on the principles of the Helsinki Final Act, the non-use of force or threat of force, territorial integrity and equal rights and rights of peoples to self-determination, recalling the joint statement by the heads of delegation of the co-chairing countries, as well as the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia at a meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Athens in 2009, which was subsequently approved by the OSCE Ministerial Council.
"Also, additional elements proposed by the presidents of the co-chairing countries in 2009-2012 should be included. The heads of delegation of the co-chairing countries reiterate that the status quo is unacceptable and there is no military solution to the conflict. Therefore, we urge the parties to conduct substantive negotiations in essence without delays or conditions: Heads of delegations of the co-chairing countries are convinced that the format of the OSCE Minsk Group remains an indispensable center for efforts to achieve a sustainable settlement. We'll cooperate with each other and with the co-chairs of the Minsk Group, whom we will entrust with continuing mediation efforts, "concluded the heads of delegations.