The presidents of six ex-Soviet states making up the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) again voiced support on Thursday for international efforts to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict spearheaded by the United States, Russia and France.
A joint statement to that effect was one of two dozen documents adopted by them at a summit held in Belarus’s capital Minsk. It reaffirms CSTO support for the joint peace efforts of the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.
According to President Serzh Sarkisian’s press office, the statement specifically endorses the mediating powers’ pursuit of a Karabakh settlement based on the principles of territorial integrity of states, self-determination of people and non-use of force.
Defense Minister Vigen Sargsian, who attended a separate meeting of top CSTO security officials in Minsk, called the document drafted by Armenia as “very important.” He said it upholds the Minsk Group co-chairs’ “exceptional status” in the Karabakh peace process.
The CSTO leaders already adopted a similar statement at an October 2016 summit in Yerevan.
The Armenian leadership had repeatedly criticized the CSTO’s Central Asian member states for signing multilateral declarations by Islamic or Turkic nations that mentioned only Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity in reference to the Karabakh conflict.
Earlier on Thursday, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov announced that he will meet with his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian on December 6 for fresh peace talks on Karabakh. The mediators hope that Mammadyarov and Nalbandian will build on progress reportedly made by the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents at their last meeting held in Geneva in October.