The mediators engaged with the process of facilitating discussions for a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have ended their latest visit to the region. At the end of their visit, the three co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk process issued a statement saying that "the main purpose of the visit was to discuss the results of the conversation between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan on the margins of the CIS summit in Dushanbe in September, outline next steps in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, and review the overall evolution of the situation on the ground."
The statement added:
The Co-Chairs met with Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Yerevan on 29 October and with President Ilham Aliyev in Baku on 1 November. In both capitals, they held consultations with the respective foreign ministers and defense ministers. On October 30-31, Co-Chairs met with the de facto authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh and visited the districts of Kelbajar and Agdam. On October 31, they participated in an OSCE ceasefire monitoring mission along the Line of Contact near Agdam. In Baku, the Co-Chairs met with representatives of Azerbaijani communities affected by the conflict. While in the region, the Co-Chairs discussed the situation with representatives from the ICRC and UNHCR.
In their meetings with the Co-Chairs, the leaders in both capitals confirmed that the level of violence has fallen significantly since they reaffirmed in Dushanbe their commitment to reduce tensions. In their consultations, the Co-Chairs received additional details about the implementation of the Dushanbe understanding, including with regard to the establishment of direct communication links. The Co-Chairs welcomed these developments, commended the sides for implementing constructive measures in good faith, and expressed support for the leaders' readiness to continue their dialogue.
The Co-Chairs stressed the importance of sustaining a climate of trust for intensive negotiations on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The Foreign Ministers agreed to meet again before the end of the year.
The Co-Chairs will soon travel to Vienna to brief the OSCE Permanent Council and the members of the Minsk Group.
The three co-Chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group are Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stéphane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States. They were in the region from 29 October to 2 November accompanied by the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Andrzej Kasprzyk.
source:commonspace.eu with the press service of the OSCE, Vienna.
photo: The diplomats heading the OSCE Minsk Process on Karabakh in Yerevan on 30 October 2018 (picture courtesy of the press service of the government of Armenia)
Ahead of the expected Armenia-Azerbaijan summit, Benyamin Poghosyan argues in this op-ed for commonspace.eu, that the negotiating paradigm based on the Madrid principles is doomed.
"In essence this is an olive branch to the government's critics", commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment. "Its significance should not be understated. President Aliyev has in the last weeks been preparing the country for major changes. This presidential pardon may well be the opening shot of more to come".