May 262011
 

We, the Presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group’s Co-Chair countries — France, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America — are convinced the time has arrived for all the sides to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to take a decisive step towards a peaceful settlement.

We reiterate that only a negotiated settlement can lead to peace, stability, and reconciliation, opening opportunities for regional development and cooperation. The use of force created the current situation of confrontation and instability. Its use again would only bring more suffering and devastation, and would be condemned by the international community. We strongly urge the leaders of the sides to prepare their populations for peace, not war.

As a result of efforts by the parties and the Co-Chair countries at all levels, significant progress has been made. The latest version of the Basic Principles, as discussed in Sochi on March 5, lays a just and balanced foundation for the drafting of a comprehensive peace settlement. This document, based on the Helsinki Final Act and elements outlined in our joint declarations in L’Aquila in July 2009 and Muskoka in June 2010, provides a way for all sides to move beyond the unacceptable status quo.

We therefore call upon the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to demonstrate their political will by finalizing the Basic Principles during their upcoming summit in June. Further delay would only call into question the commitment of the sides to reach an agreement. Once an agreement has been reached, we stand ready to witness the formal acceptance of these Principles, to assist in the drafting of the peace agreement, and then to support its implementation with our international partners.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Mar 312011
 

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) was established by the Council of Europe. It is an independent human rights monitoring body specialised in questions relating to racism and intolerance. It is composed of independent and impartial members, who are appointed on the basis of their moral authority and recognised expertise in dealing with racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance.

In the framework of its statutory activities, ECRI conducts country-by-country monitoring work, which analyses the situation in each of the member States regarding racism and intolerance and draws up suggestions and proposals for dealing with the problems identified.

Here is what the 2011 ERCI report on Azerbaijan says about discrimination against persons of Armenian origin:

98. As mentioned in other parts of this report, persons of Armenian origin are at risk of being discriminated against in their daily lives. Certain people born of mixed Armenian-Azerbaijani marriages choose to use the name of their Azerbaijani parent so as to avoid problems in their contacts with officialdom; others who did not immediately apply for Azerbaijani identity documents when the former Soviet passports were done away with today encounter difficulties in obtaining identity papers. These problems and the prejudice reigning within society with regard to Armenians also cause serious difficulties of access to social rights.

99. ECRI is still deeply concerned about the fact that the constant negative official and media discourse concerning the Republic of Armenia helps to sustain a negative climate of opinion regarding people of Armenian origin coming under the Azerbaijani authorities’ jurisdiction. This prejudice is so ingrained that describing someone as an Armenian in the media is considered by some people – including by certain Armenians themselves – to qualify as an insult that justifies initiating judicial proceedings against the persons making such statements. ECRI underlines the seriousness of this situation, where it seems that persons belonging to the group discriminated against in this way may themselves have interiorised this discriminatory attitude.

100. ECRI is moreover puzzled by the contradictory information it has received as to the number of persons of Armenian origin currently living in Azerbaijan. On the basis of the previous census, 120 700 Armenians were living in Azerbaijan in 1999. The authorities have indicated that the number of Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh or the areas affected by the conflict over it could be estimated at about 120 000, in line with the results of the last census carried out in the region during the Soviet era. Outside those areas, 700 people declared themselves as being of Armenian origin. In view of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and the areas affected by the conflict over it, it was again not possible to count the real number of Armenians living in this part of the country during the census carried out in 2009; the estimated figure of 120 000 will accordingly be deemed still current for these areas and only the figure of 700, corresponding to the number of persons actually counted in the remainder of Azerbaijani territory, is likely to change. ECRI points out that these explanations, albeit clear, differ strikingly from the figure of 30 000 Armenians living in the parts of Azerbaijan under the Azerbaijani authorities’ effective control, which is regularly cited by the authorities. ECRI considers that questions can be raised as to the reasons why less than 3% of those concerned are prepared officially to declare themselves as belonging to this group. Thought should be given, inter alia, to the measures that might be taken to eliminate the prejudices and stereotyping existing within the majority population that can give rise to discriminatory attitudes towards persons of Armenian origin.

101. ECRI refers to the recommendations made in other parts of this report concerning the need to adopt an appropriate response to all cases of discrimination and hate speech against Armenians, and to its recommendations concerning the application of the relevant legal provisions. It considers that the Azerbaijani authorities should actively contribute to generating a climate where all persons of Armenian origin living in Azerbaijan can declare their ethnic origin without fear.


File: 2011 ERCI Report on Azerbaijan
Source: Publications, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

Mar 052011
 

Upon the invitation of the President of the Russian Federation, the Presidents of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan met on March 5, 2011 in Sochi and discussed in detail the process and the prospects of the NK conflict resolution.

After the discussions on the practical implementation of the trilateral Declaration adopted on October 27, 2010 in Astrakhan, in addition to the steps specified in the above mentioned Declaration, the Presidents agreed to take the following confidence building measures:

1. To conclude in the shortest possible period of time the exchange of the prisoners of war,

2. To strive to solve all contentious issues through peaceful means and to conduct along the cease-fire line an investigation with the participation of the parties under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and with the assistance of the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office regarding probable incidents.

The Presidents stressed the importance of their regular meetings on the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and agreed to continue them in the present format and further to the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group.


Original source: President of Russia [Rus]
Armenian source: President of Armenia
Azerbaijani source: President of Azerbaijan

Dec 012010
 

ASTANA, 1 December 2010 – On the occasion of the OSCE Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, the Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries (the President of the Russian Federation Dmitri Medvedev, the Prime Minister of France Francois Fillon, and the Secretary of State of the United States Hillary Rodham Clinton), the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, and the President of Armenia Serge Sargsian agreed that the time has come for more decisive efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

In this context, they recalled the joint statements of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia, with the President of the Russian Federation, on November 2, 2008, in Moscow, and on October 27, 2010, in Astrakhan. They further agreed that a peaceful, negotiated settlement will bring stability and security and is the only way to bring real reconciliation to the peoples of the region.

The Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan reaffirmed their commitment to seek a final settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, based upon: the principles and norms of international law; the United Nations Charter; the Helsinki Final Act; as well as the statements of Presidents Medvedev, Sarkozy, and Obama, at L’Aquila on July 10, 2009, and at Muskoka on June 26, 2010.

The three OSCE Co-Chair countries pledged their support for the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia as they make the necessary decisions to reach a peaceful settlement. They urged the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to focus with renewed energy on the issues that still remain in the Basic Principles, and instructed their Co-Chairs to continue to work with the parties to the conflict to assist in these efforts. In order to create a better atmosphere for the negotiations, they called for additional steps to strengthen the ceasefire and carry out confidence-building measures in all fields.


Source: OSCE Astana Summit page

Oct 272010
 

Dmitry Medvedev, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev discussed future possibilities for reaching a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

At the talks the parties approved a joint statement. The document, which is humanitarian in purpose, has great importance for resolving the conflict in view of the various difficulties still apparent today in Azerbaijani-Armenian relations over the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, Dmitry Medvedev said and added that the statement aims to bolster the ceasefire regime and strengthen confidence-building measures.

The Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents agreed that their first step would be an immediate exchange of prisoners of war and the return of the bodies of those killed. This would be organised with the help of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Answering journalists’ questions after the meeting, Mr Medvedev noted that the general principles for settling the Nagorno-Karabakh problem could be drafted in time for the OSCE summit that will take place on December 1-2, 2010 in Astana.

Today’s trilateral meeting was the seventh so far and the third this year.


Source: President of Russia

Jul 172010
 

ALMATY, Kazakhstan, 17 July 2010 – The Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of France Bernard Kouchner, and Deputy Secretary of State of the United States James Steinberg, released the following statement today:

The Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of France Bernard Kouchner, and Deputy Secretary of State of the United States James Steinberg met on the margins of the OSCE Informal Ministerial with Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov and Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The Heads of Delegation of the Co-Chair countries recalled the joint statement on Nagorno-Karabakh of December 1, 2009 at the OSCE Ministerial meeting in Athens and reminded the sides of their commitment to seek a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the principles contained in the Helsinki Final Act, particularly those related to refraining from the threat or use of force, the territorial integrity of states, and the equal rights and self determination of peoples. They reiterated that the elements articulated by Presidents Medvedev, Sarkozy, and Obama on July 10, 2009 at L’Aquila and repeated at Muskoka on June 26, 2010 must be the foundation of any fair and lasting settlement to the conflict. These proposed elements have been conceived as an integrated whole, and any attempt to select some elements over others would make it impossible to achieve a balanced solution. Foreign Minister Kouchner and Deputy Secretary Steinberg expressed appreciation for the efforts of President Medvedev and Foreign Minister Lavrov to bridge the differences between the parties, taking into consideration the positions discussed during the meetings in Sochi on January 25, 2010 and in St. Petersburg on June 17, 2010.

The Heads of Delegation of Russia, France, and the United States stressed that the efforts made so far by the parties to the conflict have not been sufficient to overcome their differences. They deplored recent developments which have increased tension in the region, including the serious armed incident of June 18-19, 2010 and inflammatory public statements. They warned that the use of force created the current situation, and its use again would only lead to suffering, devastation, and a legacy of conflict and hostility that would last for generations. They urged a greater spirit of compromise to reach agreement on a common basis for continuing the negotiations. Additional actions by the sides are needed to reinforce the ceasefire of 1994 and to create a more favorable atmosphere for further political dialogue and reaching agreements. The Heads of Delegation of the Co-Chair countries renewed their commitment to support the sides in reaching a peace agreement, but reiterated that the primary responsibility to put an end to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict still remains with Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders.


Source: OSCE web page

Jun 262010
 

MUSKOKA, Canada, 26 June 2010 – The countries of the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group released the following today:

We, the Presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group’s Co-Chair countries, France, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America, reaffirm our commitment to support the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan as they finalize the Basic Principles for the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

We welcome as a significant step the recognition by both sides that a lasting settlement must be based upon the Helsinki Principles and the elements that we proposed in connection with our statement at the L’Aquila Summit of the Eight on July 10, 2009, relating to: the return of the occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh guaranteeing security and self-governance, a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh; final status of Nagorno-Karabakh to be determined in the future by a legally-binding expression of will, the right of all internally-displaced persons and refugees to return, and international security guarantees, including a peacekeeping operation.

Now the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan need to take the next step and complete the work on the Basic Principles to enable the drafting of a peace agreement to begin. We instruct our Ministers and Co-Chairs to work intensively to assist the two sides to overcome their differences in preparation for a joint meeting in Almaty on the margins of OSCE Informal Ministerial.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Dec 012009
 

The Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of France Bernard Kouchner, and Deputy Secretary of State of the United States James Steinberg met in Athens on December 1 with the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov and Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian.

The five Heads of Delegation recalled the commitments in the November 2008 Moscow Declaration and the December 2008 Helsinki OSCE Ministerial Statement. They noted the positive dynamic in the talks, demonstrated through six meetings this year between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan. They agreed that the increasing frequency of these meetings has significantly contributed to an enhanced dialogue between the parties and forward movement toward finalizing the Basic Principles for the Peaceful Settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, proposed in Madrid on November 29, 2007.

Foreign Ministers Lavrov and Kouchner and Deputy Secretary Steinberg reiterated the commitment of their countries, as expressed in the Joint Statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at the L’Aquila Summit of the Eight on July 10, issued by their three Presidents, to support the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan as they complete work on the Basic Principles and urged that the parties complete this work as soon as possible. They stressed that agreement on the Basic Principles would provide the framework for a comprehensive settlement to promote a future of peace, stability, and prosperity for the entire region.

The Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan reported on progress during the course of this year in achieving common understandings on points of the Basic Principles. They stated the willingness of their countries to complete work on the Basic Principles, as stipulated by the Presidents of the Co-Chair countries at L’Aquila. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to work intensively to resolve the remaining issues, to reach an agreement based, in particular, upon the principles of the Helsinki Final Act of Non-Use of Force or Threat of Force, Territorial Integrity, and the Equal Rights and Self-Determination of Peoples.


Source: OSCE webpage [MC.DEL/43/09]
File: Joint statement, Athens 01 Dec 2009

Jul 102009
 

We, the Presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group’s Co-Chair countries France, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America affirm our commitment to support the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan as they finalize the Basic Principles for settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

We are instructing our mediators to present to the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan an updated version of the Madrid Document of November 2007, the Co-Chairs last articulation of the Basic Principles. We urge the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to resolve the few differences remaining between them and finalize their agreement on these Basic Principles, which will outline a comprehensive settlement.

Fact sheet

The ministers of the US, France, and Russia presented a preliminary version of the Basic Principles for a settlement to Armenia and Azerbaijan in November 2007 in Madrid.

The Basic Principles reflect a reasonable compromise based on the Helsinki Final Act principles of Non-Use of Force, Territorial Integrity, and the Equal Rights and Self-Determination of Peoples.

The Basic Principles call for inter alia:

  • return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijani control;
  • an interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh providing guarantees for security and self-governance;
  • a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh;
  • future determination of the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh through a legally binding expression of will;
  • the right of all internally displaced persons and refugees to return to their former places of residence; and
  • international security guarantees that would include a peacekeeping operation.

The endorsement of these Basic Principles by Armenia and Azerbaijan will allow the drafting of a comprehensive settlement to ensure a future of peace, stability, and prosperity for Armenia and Azerbaijan and the broader region.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Dec 052008
 

We welcome the constructive and positive momentum in the peace process for the political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict established after the two meetings of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2008, in Saint Petersburg on June 6, and especially in Moscow on November 2.

The Moscow Declaration signed by the Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia opened a promising phase in the process of settling the conflict. We strongly encourage the sides in their aspiration to identify efforts in the negotiation process, in accordance with the provisions of the Moscow Declaration and in co-ordination with the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, to further elaborate the Basic Principles proposed in Madrid on November 29, 2007, and then begin drafting a comprehensive Peace Agreement. We highly appreciate their intention to develop confidence building measures and to consolidate the ceasefire.


Source: OSCE website [MC.DOC/1/08]
File: OSCE Ministerial Statement, Helsinki 05 Dec 2008