A statement issued in Vienna by the co-Chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group mediating between Armenia and Azerbaijan said that the leaders of the two countries, Nikol Pashinyan and Ilham Aliyev, "accepted [their]proposal to meet soon under their auspices. In a statement issued in Vienna on Friday (1 March), the co-Chairmen also welcomed the developing discussions in the region about preparing populations for peace.
The co-chairmen are diplomats representing France, Russia and the United States.
Unusually the statement came one week after the diplomats held their discussions in Baku and Yerevan.
The full statement, published on the OSCE website said:
"The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stéphane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States of America) met with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Yerevan on 20 February and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku on 21 February to discuss preparations for a meeting of the leaders in the near future, including possible topics for discussion. The Co-Chairs also held discussions with the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in their respective capitals. The Co-Chairs were joined by the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Andrzej Kasprzyk.
During the meetings in the region, the leaders briefed the Co-Chairs on their recent conversation on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos in January. The leaders and the Co-Chairs discussed the situation on the ground and their expectations for next steps.
The Co-Chairs assessed positively the continuing lack of casualties on the line of contact. They also welcomed the developing discussions in the region about preparing populations for peace.
The leaders accepted the Minsk Group Co-Chairs‘ proposal to meet soon under their auspices.
Following their visit to the region, the Co-Chairs and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office travelled to Vienna and Bratislava from 28 February to 1 March to brief the Permanent Representatives of the OSCE Minsk Group countries, OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger, and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák."
photo: The co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk group met president Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan in baku on 21 February 2019 (archive picture)
The website of the Armenian government said that Nikol Pashinyan and Mamuka Bakhtadze "emphasised the importance of Armenian-Georgian relations in all spheres and expressed confidence that further active cooperation will promote the development and expansion of cooperation between the two neighbouring and friendly states in a number of directions".
Addressing the Council meeting in Geneva, ahead of the vote on Friday (22 March), Georgia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Lasha Darsalia, said that the recent death of Irakli Kvaratskhelia whilst in detention in Abkhazia highlighted the urgency of the matter.