Baku – APA. The foreign ministers of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries will take part in a “3+2” format meeting on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which will be held in the framework of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Hamburg on December 9, said Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.
Mammadyarov made the remarks at a joint press conference with South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane in Baku Nov. 29.
He recalled that Azerbaijan had accepted the proposal of France for a meeting of foreign ministers in the format of "3 + 2" on the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Hamburg on December 9.
“I don’t think the replacement of the co-chairs is going to change something. The new French co-chair [Stéphane Visconti] is an experienced diplomat who is familiar with the region,” Mammadyarov said commenting on the replacement of the US and French co-chairs of the Minsk Group.
“If we take a look in history, the meeting in Munich of the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents took place in the General Consulate of France and the Counsel was this same person. I believe he will take care of the problem seriously. And we will have the final meeting with James Warlick in Hamburg. Who will replace him is up to the Department of State. We’ll know the new co-chair once the administration is formed,” the FM continued.
With regard to illegal researches being carried out by foreign scientists in the Azykh Cave, located in the Armenia-occupied territories of Azerbaijan, Mammadyarov said the ministry is seriously dealing with this issue.
“Here there are legal issues and we are studying them. Lawyers are also involved in the issue. Additional information will be provided,” he added.
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.