By Emil Danielyan
International mediators said on Thursday that they will again visit Armenia and Azerbaijan next week to try to speed up agreement on the basic principles of a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement proposed by them.
The U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-heading the OSCE’s Minsk Group said Presidents Ilham Aliev and Serzh Sarkisian asked them to step up their mediation efforts when they met in Zurich late last month.
“In subsequent public statements, both Presidents underscored their enduring commitment to the Minsk Group's mediation effort,” they said in a statement. “Therefore, the Minsk Group's Co-Chairs will visit the region before the end of February to help the parties to accelerate their efforts to finalize the Basic Principles.”
The mediators earlier urged the conflicting parties to bridge their remaining differences relating to those principles and sign a framework peace deal “in the nearest future.” “Our target is to try to have it signed in the beginning of summer, in June or so,” the group’s U.S. co-chair, Matthew Bryza, told RFE/RL shortly before the Zurich talks.
In their statement, the mediators also stressed that they believe “there is no military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.” “The Co-Chairs further underscore the non-use of force as a core element of any just and lasting settlement of the conflict,” they said.