Diplomats from the OSCE Minsk Group have ended a visit to Yerevan where they met with President Sargsyan and Foreign Minister Nalbandian. The diplomats travelled to Armenia from Azerbaijan where they met with President Aliev and Foreign Ministrer Mammadyarov, as well as the New Azerbaijani Defence Minister Hassanov.
The diplomats are attempting to find enough common ground between the two sides to enable another meeting of the Presidents of the two countries to take place in the coming weeks. At least one of the sides has declared itself against open-ended meeting, but both sides at the same time reiterate their committment to a peaceful solution of the conflict between them with the help of the Minsk Group mediation.
High on the agenda for the current mission of the Minsk Group diplomats has been the situation on the front line where incidents increased sharply during the first month of 2014. The matter was raised with the two Presidents, but both countries blame the other for the incidents. The current cease fire, which has been in force for the last twenty years, is largely unmonitored. Both sides report hundreds of violations weekly. Most casualties in the last years have been the result of sniper fire and the Minsk Group diplomats have made with drawal of snipers from the proximity of the line of contact a priority in their discussions.
photo: President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia with diplomats from the OSCE Minsk Group in Yerevan on 5 February 2014. (Picture courtesy of the press Service of the President of Armenia).
First Vice-President Aliyeva noted that Azerbaijan is located at the crossroads between the civilizations of the East and West, and is one of the few countries that are a member of both the Council of Europe and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
The transfer of the body of Tatunashvili back to Georgian jurisdiction was facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross. It is now expected that the Georgian authorities will hold an autopsy on the body to ascertain the cause of death.