OSCE Minsk Group to prepare meeting of Armenian, Azeri leaders

OSCE Minsk Group to prepare meeting of Armenian, Azeri leaders

PanARMENIAN.Net - The Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group will continue consultations with Yerevan and Baku in the weeks ahead, in preparation for high level presidential meetings, the OSCE press service said.

The Co-chairs (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Jacques Faure of France, and James Warlick of the United States of America) and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, traveled to Baku and Yerevan Feb 4-5.

In Baku, the Co-chairs met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, and in Yerevan they met with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. In both capitals, they had consultations with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense.

In Yerevan, the Co-chairs were met with a protest rally staged by the members of ARFD student union, Nikol Abgalyan. As the union chair Gerasim Vardanyan told journalists, while the mission of the Minsk Group is to promote peace, their actions foster renewal of a war. “Refusing to condemn Azeri attacks at the border means to favor and abide with Baku’s anti-Armenian policies,” he stressed.

At the meeting with Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, the Co-chairs shared impressions of the Baku visit, with the Armenian official stressing the necessity of preventing Azeri provocations. As he noted, Yerevan supports the Co-chairs’ stance that escalation of tensions at the line of contact undermines success of the peace talks.

With the Presidents, the Co-chairs discussed the outcome of the Foreign Ministers' recent meeting in Paris, and stressed the need for further progress on the substance of negotiations on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. They emphasized the need to continue negotiations at the highest level, as was agreed in Vienna.

In their talks, the Co-chairs reiterated their deep concern over the recent escalation on the Line of Contact and the border, and called on the sides to exercise restraint in their actions and rhetoric. The sides stated their intention to strengthen observance of the ceasefire and avoid further escalation, particularly in light of the upcoming Olympic Games in Sochi.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry urged for ceasefire in all the conflicts across the world for the duration of Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The opening of the Olympic Ceremony will take place on Friday, Feb 7.

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