The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) sees all grounds for a ‘positive impetus’ to the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, the organization’s visiting top official said in Yerevan after talks with his Armenian counterpart on Wednesday.
At a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak describes his meeting with Armenia’s top diplomat as “very constructive.”
“I am here to reaffirm our ongoing support, in particular, to finding a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and at the same time I express my absolute support to the actions and involvement of the Minsk Group co-chairs in the process,” said Lajcak.
The OSCE chairman-in-office, in particular, hailed the reduction of casualties along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“I am convinced that all this will promote the implementation of a multi-sided process of finding a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Challenges are a lot, but I think that we have all the grounds to give a positive impetus to the process, considering the developments of the past months,” Lajcak said.
The OSCE chairman-in-office also stressed the importance of preparing the peoples for peace. “We understand that the conflict has not been settled yet, but we are convinced that the stage-by-stage, step-by-step approach and the developing dialogue, as such, will result in at least small improvements in peoples’ lives,” Lajcak said.
For his part, Armenian Foreign Minister Mnatsakanian said that during his meeting with the visiting OSCE official he reiterated that “the security and status of Nagorno-Karabakh are absolute priorities for Armenia.”
“I have also reiterated the approach on ensuring Nagorno-Karabakh’s involvement and its resolute voice in the process,” the Armenian minister said.
Mnatsakanian also stressed the need for introducing mechanisms for the prevention of border incidents, reducing risks of such incidents and enhancing confidence-building measures that were agreed at several meetings held through the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs’ mediation in the past.
During the press conference the visiting top OSCE official was also asked to comment on Armenia’s stated position that Nagorno-Karabakh should become a full party to the negotiations that are currently conducted between Yerevan and Baku.
Lajcak stressed that any possible change of the format of negotiations needs to be acceptable to all parties and expressed confidence that the Armenian government has the “right formula” for continuing negotiations in the existing format.
During his visit to Yerevan the OSCE chairman-in-office also meet with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.
According to the press office of the Armenian prime minister, during the meeting Pashinian reaffirmed Armenia’s support for an exclusively peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship and presented “Yerevan’s principle-based position” on settlement process.
While in Armenia OSCE Chairman-in-Office Lajcak was also due to meet with Armenian President Armen Sarkissian and Parliament Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan.