Oct 262015
 

October 26, 2015

The Honorable James Warlick
U.S. Co-Chair
OSCE Minsk Group
Dear Ambassador Warlick:

We are writing out of concern over the escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh, resulting in deaths on both sides of the conflict. It is our hope that the United States, through its role in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group, as well as through direct diplomacy with both Armenia and Azerbaijan, will immediately advocate for several steps to promote peace in the region.

We believe that securing the full and public support of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Nagorno-Karabakh for the following steps would, in the short-term, save lives and help to avert war. Over the longer term, these steps could contribute to a comprehensive and enduring peace for all the citizens of the region.

An agreement from all sides not to deploy snipers along the line of contact.

The placement of OSCE-monitored, advanced gunfire-locator systems and sound-ranging equipment to determine the source of attacks along the line of contact.

The deployment of additional OSCE observers along the line of contact to better monitor cease-fire violations.

We also urge you to publicly condemn specific acts of aggression along the line of contact. The longstanding U.S. and OSCE practice of responding to each new attack with generic calls upon all parties to refrain from violence has failed to de-escalate the situation. Instead, this policy of artificial evenhandedness has dangerously increased tensions. There will be no peace absent responsibility.

Thank you for your consideration of these recommendations. We continue to support your efforts to reach a durable and just resolution to this conflict and look forward to your response.
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Sep 262015
 

New York, 26 September 2015 – The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France), together with the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, held a meeting on 24 September with the Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian, and a separate meeting on 25 September with the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov. They also met jointly with the two Foreign Ministers to discuss the immediate need to reduce tensions along the Line of Contact and international border, to advance negotiations on a lasting settlement, and to implement confidence-building measures. The Ministers agreed to continue preparations with the Co-Chairs on the next presidential summit, which is expected to be held before the end of this year.

The Co-Chairs called for the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to accept an OSCE mechanism to investigate ceasefire violations. Without such a mechanism, the sides will continue to blame each other for initiating deadly attacks on the Line of Contact and Armenia-Azerbaijan border. Armenia has agreed to discuss the details of the mechanism, and we urged Azerbaijan to do the same.

The Co-Chairs condemned in strong terms the use of artillery that caused additional casualties in the last twenty-four hours. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased. An escalation of violence is not in the interest of Azerbaijanis or Armenians, or a negotiated settlement.

The Co-Chairs encouraged the sides to implement people-to-people programs to build trust between societies affected by the conflict.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Jan 272015
 

KRAKOW, 27 January 2015 – The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France) met with Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov today in Krakow. The Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, also participated in the meeting.

We expressed to the Minister our serious concern about reported incursions across the Line of Contact and the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, resulting in casualties. The rise in violence that began last year must stop for confidence to be restored and progress to be made in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. We called on Azerbaijan to observe its commitments to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. We also call on Armenia to take all measures to reduce tensions. All sides must abide by the terms of the ceasefire agreement. Violence undermines efforts to bring about peace.

We discussed with the Minister possible next steps in the peace process, including comprehensive negotiations that can lead to a lasting settlement which would benefit all the people of the region. We reminded the Minister of our mandates and expressed concern about voices critical of the ongoing negotiation process, the role of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs, and the duties of OSCE monitors.

We emphasized the importance of measures aimed at avoiding unintended incidents along the Line of Contact and Armenia-Azerbaijan border. We also discussed the implementation at the earliest opportunity of the Presidents’ agreement to exchange data on missing persons under the aegis of the ICRC.

The Co-Chairs plan to meet with Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian in the near future and then travel to the region.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Dec 042014
 

BASEL, Switzerland, 4 December 2014 – We, the Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries – Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, Secretary of State of the United States John Kerry,­­ State Secretary for European Affairs of France Harlem Desir – remain strongly committed to a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. There is no military solution, and we call on the sides to refrain from violence and work actively towards a lasting settlement.

We regret the upsurge in violence in the past year along the Line of Contact and the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. Military actions in July and August resulted in a significant loss of life, raised tensions and deepened mistrust between the sides. The sides must take additional actions to reinforce the ceasefire of 1994 and create a more favorable atmosphere for advancing peace talks.

The November 12 downing of a military helicopter along the Line of Contact was an avoidable tragedy that underscored the importance of measures by the sides to reduce tensions, restore trust, and avoid future incidents. We appeal to all sides to demonstrate restraint to prevent further escalation. We also call on them to settle humanitarian issues in the spirit of the Astrakhan statement of October 2010 of the Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation.

The three meetings between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2014 at Sochi, Newport, and Paris have revitalized the most important channel of communication between the sides. We welcome the agreement by the Presidents in Paris to intensify dialogue in the coming year. It is time for the sides to overcome disagreements, restore confidence, and honour their commitment to enter into a negotiating process that can result in a settlement. They are expected to acknowledge that the basis for a comprehensive settlement are the elements and principles outlined in the joint statements by the Presidents of Russia, the United States, and France, especially those that were discussed during the last summit in Paris. Negotiations on a comprehensive peace agreement under the auspices of the Co-Chair countries should begin as soon as possible.

We remain ready to work closely with the sides to reach a lasting settlement and open a new chapter of peace, but stress that the primary responsibility to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict rests with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan.


Source: OSCE Website

Jun 182013
 

ENNISKILLEN, United Kingdom, 18 June 2013 – Joint Statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict by Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, and Franсois Hollande, President of the French Republic.

We, the Presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries – France, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America – remain committed to helping the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict reach a lasting and peaceful settlement.  We express our deep regret that, rather than trying to find a solution based upon mutual interests, the parties have continued to seek one-sided advantage in the negotiation process.

We continue to firmly believe that the elements outlined in the statements of our countries over the last four years must be the foundation of any fair and lasting settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  These elements should be seen as an integrated whole, as any attempt to select some elements over others would make it impossible to achieve a balanced solution.

We reiterate that only a negotiated settlement can lead to peace, stability, and reconciliation, opening opportunities for regional development and cooperation.  The use of military force that has already created the current situation of confrontation and instability will not resolve the conflict.  A renewal of hostilities would be disastrous for the population of the region, resulting in loss of life, more destruction, additional refugees, and enormous financial costs.  We strongly urge the leaders of all the sides to recommit to the Helsinki principles, particularly those relating to the non-use of force or the threat of force, territorial integrity, and equal rights and self-determination of peoples.  We also appeal to them to refrain from any actions or rhetoric that could raise tension in the region and lead to escalation of the conflict.  The leaders should prepare their people for peace, not war.

Our countries stand ready to assist the sides, but the responsibility for putting an end to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains with them.  We strongly believe that further delay in reaching a balanced agreement on the framework for a comprehensive peace is unacceptable, and urge the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia to focus with renewed energy on the issues that remain unresolved.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Jan 282013
 

PARIS, 28 January 2013 – On January 28, 2013, the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Jacques Faure of France, and Ian Kelly of the United States of America) met jointly with the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov, and the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Edward Nalbandian. Also participating in the meeting was the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk.

The Co-Chairs continued discussions with the Ministers on the working proposal to advance the peace process, which they submitted to the sides in October 2012. They also exchanged views on possible confidence building measures.

The Co-Chairs referred to their statements of April 14, 2011 and July 13, 2012, and discussed with the Ministers issues pertaining to civilian flights to and from the airport in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Foreign Ministers and the Co-Chairs stressed the importance of the OSCE Minsk Group as the framework for negotiating a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Foreign Ministers reiterated their support for a peaceful settlement and their determination to continue negotiations. The Ministers and the Co-Chairs agreed to a further discussion of the peace process in the coming weeks.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group Page

Dec 062012
 

DUBLIN, 6 December 2012 – Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, Secretary of State of the United States Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Minister Delegate for European Affairs of France Bernard Cazeneuve issued the following statement today:

“On the occasion of the OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting in Dublin, we, the Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries, call upon the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to demonstrate the political will needed to reach a peaceful settlement. As our Presidents stated at Los Cabos on June 18, 2012, the parties should be guided by the Helsinki principles, particularly those relating to the non-use of force or the threat of force, territorial integrity, and equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and the elements outlined in our countries’ statements at L’Aquila in 2009 and Muskoka in 2010. Recalling the statement of our Presidents at Deauville in 2011, we again urge the parties to take decisive steps to reach a peaceful settlement.

“We regret that the expectations of more rapid progress in the peace process, which were raised by the Joint Statement of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, with the President of the Russian Federation at Sochi on January 23, 2012, were not met. Instead, the parties have too often sought one-sided advantage in the negotiation process, rather than seeking to find agreement, based upon mutual understanding. While recognizing the decrease in serious incidents along the Line of Contact and the border in recent months, we remind the parties of the need to continue to respect the ceasefire of 1994, and that the use of military force will not resolve the conflict. We urge the parties to refrain from actions and statements that foster feelings of enmity among their populations and have raised tensions in recent months. The leaders of the sides must prepare their populations for the day when they will live again as neighbors, not enemies, with full respect for each other’s culture, history, and traditions.

“We call upon the parties to demonstrate a greater sense of urgency in the peace process and to work with the Co-Chairs to give full and careful consideration to ideas presented by the Co-Chairs during their trip to the region in November. We welcome the readiness of the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia to meet jointly with the Co-Chairs early in 2013 to continue these discussions. Our countries continue to stand ready to do whatever we can to assist the parties, but the responsibility for putting an end to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains with them.”


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Sep 202012
 

By Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

WASHINGTON — The United States is “not satisfied” with explanations from Baku and Budapest concerning the case of an Azerbaijani officer who brutally murdered an Armenian soldier at a NATO seminar in Hungary eight years ago.

Philip Gordon, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, told RFE/RL at the Center for European Policy Analysis’ U.S.-Central Europe Strategy Forum on September 20 that Washington continues to express “dismay and disappointment” to Budapest about its decision to release Ramil Safarov to Baku.

He said Washington is sending the same message to Azerbaijan’s government, which pardoned Safarov and then promoted him after his August 31 return to the country.

“We were appalled by the glorification that we heard in some quarters of somebody who was convicted of murder,” Gordon said. He called the case “a real provocation in the region.”

The European Union, the OSCE’s Minsk Group, Russia, and Hungary also expressed concern about Safarov’s pardon and promotion.


Source: RFE/RL

Sep 072012
 

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville

We are seriously concerned about the case of Ramil Safarov, an Azerbaijani military officer who was sentenced to life in prison in Hungary for the brutal 2004 murder of an Armenian officer, Gurgen Markaryan, who was taking part in the same NATO training programme in Hungary. The murder was clearly ethnically motivated.

The concerns relate to the fact that, around a week ago, Safarov was extradited from Hungary to Azerbaijan, where instead of serving out the rest of his sentence, he was pardoned by the President, publicly praised, and promoted by the Defence Ministry. This has resulted in an international furore.

International standards regarding accountability for serious crimes should be upheld. Ethnically motivated hate crimes of this gravity should be deplored and properly punished – not publicly glorified by leaders and politicians.

We are also in full agreement with the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group who earlier this week expressed deep concern about “the damage the pardon and any attempts to glorify the crime have done to the [Nagorno-Karabakh] peace process and trust between the two sides.”


Source: Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Sep 062012
 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES CONCERN OVER CASE OF AZERI MAN

  • In response to questions about Ramil Safarov, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is concerned about the developments surrounding the case of Mr. Safarov since his 31 August 2012 transfer to Azerbaijan and subsequent pardon by Azerbaijani authorities.
  • Nesirky said that the UN underscores the responsibility of Member States to adhere to international standards and principles of rule of law in criminal cases in order to ensure accountability and fight impunity
  • As highlighted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Co-Chairs in their recent statement, he added, we hope that this issue will not damage the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process and trust between the sides. There is no alternative to a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Source: Office of the Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General