The joint statement made by the Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair Countries on December 7 affirms the principles on the basis of which the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be settled, Russian Foreign Ministry told a press conference held on the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Vienna on Friday, APA reported.
According to the statement, the primary responsibility to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict rests with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
"On the occasion of the OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting in Vienna, we the Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and French Permanent Representative Véronique Roger-Lacan, remain united in our commitment to mediating a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of the core principles of the Helsinki Final Act, including the non-use of force or threat of force, territorial integrity, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples," reads the statement.
They also reiterated joint commitment to negotiating a peaceful resolution to this conflict "as the only way to bring real reconciliation to the peoples of the region".
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.