International mediators brokering a solution to the protracted Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have called for a new Armenian-Azerbaijani summit that they consider “necessary” for progress in the ongoing peace process.
In a statement released from Paris, France, after their October 23-25 tour of the region, the Co-Chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group – Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France – announced their plans to meet with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, including on the margins of the December 2016 OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Hamburg, Germany, to discuss a possible meeting of Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev “at the earliest opportunity”.
“Such a dialogue at the highest level is necessary to make progress towards a settlement,” the mediating troika said, according to the OSCE’s official website.
The three mediators together with the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk traveled to the region “to discuss the situation after the unprecedented violence last April, and to clarify positions on the negotiation process.”
In Baku, Yerevan and Stepanakert they held meetings with the presidents and foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia, Armenia’s newly appointed defense minister, and “de facto authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh”.
“During the meetings, the sides confirmed that the situation on the ground remains relatively calm. The Co-Chairs underscored that respect for the ceasefire provides a critical foundation for ongoing negotiations, and stressed the importance of fully implementing decisions taken in Vienna and St. Petersburg,” the statement reads.
“The Co-Chairs also discussed current working proposals to advance substantive negotiations towards a lasting peace. The Presidents each expressed their views on how to move the settlement process forward. The Presidents also reaffirmed their agreement to expand the Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, and operational details are still being discussed.”
According to the statement, while in the region, the Co-Chairs also met with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) “to discuss the work the organization has undertaken on the exchange of data on missing persons, a humanitarian measure which the Co-Chairs have fully supported in meetings with officials at all levels.”