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EU ready to promote OSCE Minsk Group-mediated Karabakh settlement

EU ready to promote OSCE Minsk Group-mediated Karabakh settlement

PanARMENIAN.Net - The European Union is ready to assist in the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group, APA reported quoting the head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan.

“As the EU already stated, we’re ready to support mediation activities of the OSCE Minsk Group and promote the settlement in the MG format to the best of our abilities,” Malena Mard said.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov met with OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs in Paris, Foreign Ministry spokesman Elman Abdullayev told Trend.

As the news agency reported, the meeting was attended by co-chairs Igor Popov (Russia), Jacques Faure (France), James Warlick (U.S.) and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Personal Representative Andrzej Kasprzyk. At the meeting, the parties expressed concern over the non-settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

According to Abdullayev, Mammadyarov reaffirmed Azerbaijan’s willingness to sign a comprehensive peace agreement in case Armenian troops are withdrawn from Karabakh-adjacent territories.

Earlier, the U.S. Co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group commented on the March 10 meeting with Mammadyarov.

“Productive talks with Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister on key issues and the way forward on a negotiated settlement,” the Co-chair said in his Twitter post.

He further expressed hope for Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders to meet in March. “Only they can address the most difficult issues of peace,” Warlick tweeted.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian’s meeting with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs Igor Popov, Jacques Faure and James Warlick has been scheduled for March 11 with the Group's mediation activities ongoing.

In an interview with APA, Russian Co-chair Igor Popov pointed out positive aspects in the conflict settlement talks. However, he said, approximation of positions remains a hard task. "After a long break, another meeting of the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia was held in Vienna on November 19, 2013. They discussed a range of issues on the settlement of Karabakh problem. The two sides decided to accelerate the process of negotiations. The main directions that require special attention were determined.

Ministers of Foreign Affairs were given relevant instructions, consultations were carried out on the basis of the instructions. Elmar Mammadyarov and Edward Nalbandian met twice. The most contentious issues were discussed in details at these meetings. The negotiations show that there are positive aspects. However, it is not so easy to bring closer the positions of the parties.

Difficulties in the negotiation process correspond to the complexity of the conflict. The parties intend to move forward. We are currently conducting consultations with our French and American colleagues, ministers separately.

We met with Nalbandian on February 22. We plan to meet Mammadyarov in the near future. If we achieve options that will satisfy the parties, joint meetings will be accessible, first at the ministerial level, and then the issue of summit will be considered, as agreed by the presidents in Vienna. We will continue our consultations in the region," Popov said.

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The conflict between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan

The conflict between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan broke out as result of the ethnic cleansing launched by the Azeri authorities in the final years of the Soviet Union. The Karabakh War was fought from 1991 (when the Nagorno Karabakh Republic was proclaimed) to 1994 (when a ceasefire was sealed by Armenia, NKR and Azerbaijan). Most of Nagorno Karabakh and a security zone consisting of 7 regions are now under control of NKR defense army. Armenia and Azerbaijan are holding peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group up till now.

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