VIENNA—The Heads of Delegation of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group co-chair countries released a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to mediating a peaceful settlement of the Artsakh conflict.
The Dec. 7 statement signed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and French Permanent Representative to the OSCE Véronique Roger-Lacan said their commitment is based on the core principles of the Helsinki Final Act, including the nonuse of force or threat of force, territorial integrity, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples.
“We reiterate our joint commitment to negotiating a peaceful resolution to this conflict as the only way to bring real reconciliation to the peoples of the region,” read a part of the statement, which welcomed the resumption of high-level dialogue between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Geneva on Oct. 16, and the meeting between their foreign ministers that took place yesterday in Vienna.
“We express satisfaction with the intensified negotiations, and appeal to the sides to focus their efforts on finding compromise solutions to the substantive issues of political settlement,” the statement read. “Further delays will only complicate the situation and could call into question the commitment of the Parties to reach a lasting agreement.”
The Heads of Delegation also urged both Baku and Yerevan to accept the expansion of the existing Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and to implement the decisions adopted during the summits in Vienna and St. Petersburg in 2016.
“We welcome the Parties’ consideration of the Co-Chairs’ proposals aimed at restoring people-to-people contacts between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, and support the International Committee of the Red Cross in its efforts to move forward with the exchange of data on missing persons,” the statement went on.
The three officials also encourage the two parties to avoid “unnecessary politicization” of the important humanitarian steps outlined.
“Our countries remain ready to work closely with the sides to reach a lasting and peaceful settlement. We have instructed our Co-Chairs to continue their mediating activities to promote compromises on the working proposals submitted to the parties, but stress that the primary responsibility to end the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict rests with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan,” the statement concluded.