Dec 082016
 

HAMBURG, Germany, 8 December 2016 – 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, and Foreign Minister of France Jean-Marc Ayrault – remain fully committed to a negotiated settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

In light of the dramatic escalation in violence along the Line of Contact in April, we express concern over continuing armed incidents, including reports on the use of heavy weapons, and strongly condemn the use of force or the threat of the use of force. There is no military solution to this conflict and no justification for the death and injury of civilians. We are also aware of allegations of atrocities committed on the field of battle in April, which we condemn in the strongest terms. We appeal to the sides to confirm their commitment to the peaceful resolution of the conflict as the only way to bring real reconciliation to the peoples of the region. We also urge them to adhere strictly to the 1994/95 ceasefire agreements that make up the foundation of the cessation of hostilities in the conflict zone.

We call on Baku and Yerevan to honor the agreements reflected in the Joint Statements of the 16 May Summit in Vienna and the 20 June Summit in St. Petersburg. We welcome the sides’ progress in implementing the exchange of data on missing persons under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross. We urge the parties to remove all remaining obstacles to expanding the mission of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and to make progress on a proposal to establish an OSCE investigative mechanism. The proposals should be implemented together with the immediate resumption of negotiations on a settlement. We would like to reiterate our call to the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to demonstrate flexibility and to return to the negotiation table with the firm aim of moving toward a sustainable peace on the basis of the current working proposals. Unless progress can be made on negotiations, the prospects for renewed violence will only increase, and the parties will bear full responsibility.

We remind the sides that the settlement must be based on the core principles of the Helsinki Final Act, namely: non-use of force, territorial integrity, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and additional elements as proposed by the Presidents of the Co-Chair countries, including 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. Our countries will continue to work closely with the sides, and we call upon them to make full use of the assistance of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs as mediators.

The Co-Chair countries are prepared to host a meeting of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan when they are ready. We firmly believe that the Presidents need to engage in negotiations in good faith at the earliest opportunity. Continuous and direct dialogue between the Presidents, conducted under the auspices of the Co-Chairs, remains an essential element in building confidence and moving the peace process forward.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Jun 242016
 

VIENNA, 24 June 2016 – 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) call on the sides to honour the agreements which were reflected in the Joint Statements of the 16 May summit in Vienna and the 20 June summit in St. Petersburg.

We urge Azerbaijan and Armenia to remove all remaining obstacles to expanding the mission of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk. We also urge progress in substantive talks and on a proposal to establish an OSCE investigative mechanism. We will continue our engagement with the sides to advance all of these outcomes from the last two meetings between the Presidents.


Source: SOCE Minsk Group page

Jun 202016
 

At the invitation of the President of the Russian Federation, the Presidents of the Republic of Armenia, Russian Federation and Republic of Azerbaijan met in Saint Petersburg on June 20, 2016 and discussed issues pertaining to the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.

The Presidents of the Republic of Armenia and Republic of Azerbaijan reiterated agreements reached at the May 16 Armenian-Azerbaijani Summit in Vienna aimed at the stabilization of the situation in the conflict area and creation of an atmosphere conducive for moving the peace process forward. Towards that end, they agreed in particular to increase the number of international observers. They expressed satisfaction with the fact that recently the ceasefire regime at the line of contact has been upheld.

A substantial exchange of opinions took place regarding the pivotal issues related to the settlement. The Heads of State took note of mutual understanding on a number of issues, the resolution of which will allow to create conditions for a progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.

The Presidents stressed the importance of their regular meetings and reached an agreement to continue them in the same format, in addition to the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, which were invited to the concluding part of the St. Petersburg meeting.


Original source: Official website of the President of Russia [in Russian]
Armenian source: Official website of the President of Armenia

May 162016
 

VIENNA, 16 May 2016 – The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, Secretary of State of the United States of America John Kerry, and State Secretary for European Affairs of France Harlem Desir, representing the co-chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group, met today with President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to advance a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

They reiterated that there can be no military solution to the conflict. The Co-Chairs insisted on the importance of respecting the 1994 and 1995 ceasefire agreements.

The Presidents reiterated their commitment to the ceasefire and the peaceful settlement of the conflict. To reduce the risk of further violence, they agreed to finalize in the shortest possible time an OSCE investigative mechanism. The Presidents also agreed to the expansion of the existing Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson in Office. Finally, they agreed to continue the exchange of data on missing persons under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to which the Presidents committed during the Paris summit of October 2014.

The Presidents agreed on a next round of talks, to be held in June at a place to be mutually agreed, with an aim to resuming negotiations on a comprehensive settlement.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Mar 172016
 

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), established by the Council of Europe, is an independent human rights monitoring body specialised in questions relating to racism and intolerance. It is composed of independent and impartial members 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 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 2016 ERCI report on Azerbaijan says about recurrent hate speech towards Armenians:

25. Other sources confirm recurrent hate speech towards Armenians, which is connected with the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, the frequent ceasefire violations at the contact line and the resulting deaths and injuries. The Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (ACFC) for example noted “a persistent public narrative surrounding the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh identifying [in]variably Armenia or Armenians as ‘the enemy’ and openly promulgating hate messages”. According to other sources, there is a conflict-ridden domestic political discourse and Azerbaijan’s leadership, education system and media are very prolific in their denigration of Armenians. Political opponents are accused of having Armenian roots or of receiving funds from Armenian sources. An entire generation of Azerbaijanis has now grown up listening to constant rhetoric of Armenian aggression. According to a 2012 survey, 91% perceived Armenia as Azerbaijan’s greatest enemy. As a result, the Armenians living in the country need to hide their ethnic affiliation and there is no organisation of the Armenian minority in the country with which ECRI’s delegation could have met. The human rights activists Leyla and Arif Yunus, who worked inter alia towards reconciliation with Armenia, have been arrested and sentenced under controversial accusations to heavy prison terms. Both were conditionally released at the end of 2015.

[…]

38. ECRI has not received any official information about violent hate crime based on ethnic affiliation committed in Azerbaijan in the last five years, but, given the ongoing conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, ECRI is concerned that the on-going waves of hate speech create a risk of violence. In this connection ECRI expressed, in a press release of 4 September 2012, its consternation at the pardoning and release of Ramil Safarov, shortly after he had been transferred from Hungary to Azerbaijan in order to serve there a sentence of life imprisonment imposed by a Budapest court for the murder of an Armenian army officer in 2004. Moreover, Ramil Safarov was promoted to the rank of major, given a flat and the pay he had lost since his arrest in Hungary. In its press release, ECRI pointed out the risk that such action could cultivate a sense of impunity for the perpetrators of racist crimes of the most serious nature.


File: 2016 ERCI Report on Azerbaijan
Source: Publications, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

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

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