The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev, have agreed to consider proposals from international mediators aimed at strengthening the ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, according to a statement issued by the American, Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group on Friday.
Ambassadors James Warlick of the United States, Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, and Pierre Andrieu of France said after traveling to the region on February 16-19 that the main purpose of their visits was to appeal to the sides “to strictly adhere to the ceasefire after a dangerous rise in violence in January”.
The co-chairs, who were joined by the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk in the region, said they met with the presidents, foreign ministers, and defense ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as the de facto authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“In their discussions with the Co-Chairs, the sides confirmed their commitment to the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Presidents also agreed to consider proposals from the Co-Chairs that could strengthen the ceasefire,” the statement said. “The Co-Chairs discussed with the Presidents and the Foreign Ministers next steps towards a settlement, as well as preparations for a future Presidential meeting later this year.”
According to the statement, while in the region, the co-chairs also met with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to discuss issues related to missing persons as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They noted the importance of the agreement reached during the Presidential Summit in Paris in October 2014 to exchange information on missing persons under the auspices of the ICRC.