The OSCE Minsk Group (MG) co-chairs can meet with the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign minister in the near future, Moscow-Baku portal cited Russia's envoy to OSCE Alexander Lukashevich as saying.
Lukashevich reminded that the 3+2 format meeting (Russia, France, the US, Azerbaijan, Armenia) did not take place in the framework of the 23rd OSCE Ministerial Council in Hamburg.
Commenting on the statement by the co-chairs on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh during the OSCE Ministerial Council, he said the statement is meaningful by context and covers all the basic principles of the negotiation process.
According to the Russian envoy, the statement has nothing new discussed within the political process.
He also responded to the criticism against the Minsk Group for the fact that the 3+2 format meeting did not take place.
"In my opinion, the year 2016 showed that the Minsk Group is an effective mechanism for movement in the direction of finding solutions to major issues related to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I mean the activities that are being carried out by presidents and foreign ministers of the co-chairing countries which help solve the most difficult task to promote a political settlement of the conflict,” Lukashevich said.
“Although sometimes Russia, the US and France demonstrate different positions within the framework of the OSCE, the co-chairing countries display solidarity within the Minsk Group. The mediators have found a ‘middle ground’ and understand one another well,” added the Russian envoy.
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.