Armenia accused Azerbaijan on Thursday of reneging on an agreement to allow the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to deploy more ceasefire monitors in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.
The tentative agreement was announced by the U.S., Russian and French mediators co-heading the OSCE Mins Group after a meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers held in Krakow, Poland on January 18.
“The Foreign Ministers agreed in principle to the Co-Chairs' revised concept paper for implementing the expansion of the Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office with a view toward finalizing it as soon as possible,” read a joint statement issued by the mediators.
The group’s Russian co-chair, Igor Popov, specified later in January that seven more officials are due to join the OSCE’s existing truce-monitoring mission.
Meeting with a visiting European Union envoy, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said: “When the co-chairs visited Baku several days ago Azerbaijan again refused to honor that agreement on expanding [the mission.]”
Azerbaijani officials have so far made no public statements on the issue. Baku has been reluctant to take this and other confidence-building measures sought by the mediators, saying that they would cement the status quo. The Armenian side insists, for its part, that bolstering the shaky ceasefire regime is a necessary condition for a peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict.
The co-chairs visited Baku, Yerevan and Karabakh earlier this month. In a joint statement issued at the end of the regional tour, they called on the conflicting parties to “take additional steps to reduce tensions” on the frontlines in line with understandings reached by the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents at their October 2017 meeting in Geneva.