Lukashevich recalled that the foreign ministers of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries issued a joint statement on the conflict following the 24th OSCE Ministerial Council.
“Moreover, a separate meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers was held with the support of the co-chairs. Our hopes were renewed when the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents met in Geneva on October 16. We agreed to intensify the negotiation process on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” he said.
The Russian diplomat went on to say that the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers are expected to meet in January next year.
“We support this process, the co-chairs and Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk deserve every support,” said Lukashevich, reiterating his full support for the negotiation process.
Lukashevich mentioned that contradictions between the parties hindered a number of ministerial agreements on certain aspects of OSCE activities.
“Unfortunately, it’s a fact. This situation prevents us from taking broader decisions on the economic basket. But this year’s trend is generally encouraging. Russia maintains the most important role of influencing the negotiation process and helping our friends in Baku and Yerevan find a mutually acceptable solution,” Lukashevich concluded.
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 December 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.
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