Minsk Group Visits Region, Urges Adherence to Ceasefire



Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian (center-right) meets with Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group in Yerevan. Feb. 17, 2015. (Photo: official publication)

YEREVAN—The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group — Ambassadors Igor Popov of Russia, James Warlick of the United States, and Pierre Andrieu of France — traveled to the South Caucasus from February 16 to 19. They were joined by the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk.

The Co-Chairs met with the presidents, foreign ministers, and defense ministers of Armenia, Artsakh and Azerbaijan. The main purpose of the Co-Chairs’ visit was to appeal to the sides to strictly adhere to the ceasefire after a dangerous rise in violence in January.

In their discussions with the Co-Chairs, the sides confirmed their commitment to the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Presidents also agreed to consider proposals from the Co-Chairs that could strengthen the ceasefire.

The Co-Chairs discussed with the presidents and foreign ministers next steps towards a settlement, as well as preparations for a future presidential meeting later this year.

While in the region, the Co-Chairs met with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to discuss issues related to missing persons as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They noted the importance of the agreement reached during the Presidential Summit in Paris in October 2014 to exchange information on missing persons under the auspices of the ICRC.

Official Representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alexander Lukashevich has expressed concern over the situation at the line of contact between the Armenian and Azerbaijani forces.

Lukashevich said Russia plays an active role in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict both as an OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing country and through bilateral contacts.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dialogue with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan is a serious factor contributing to the promotion of conflict resolution,” Lukashevich told a briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.