by Marianna Mkrtchyan
The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, welcomed the statement made today by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs in commemoration of the ceasefire that entered into force on 12 May 1994, the OSCE press service reports.
He expressed his gratitude to the Co-Chairs (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Jacques Faure of France, and James Warlick of the United States of America) and to Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, his Personal Representative on the conflict dealt with by the OSCE Minsk Conference, for their tireless mediation efforts.
The Chairperson-in-Office recalled that the ceasefire of 1994 had put an end to a war whose consequences still impair the everyday life of all too many people in the South Caucasus. Violent incidents at the Line of Contact and at the international border remain frequent and no settlement of the conflict could be found so far.
Burkhalter joined the Co-Chairs in their appeal to Armenians and Azerbaijanis "to take the necessary steps towards peace". He reconfirmed the full support of the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship for the mediation process led by the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.
The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group have issued the following statement on the twentieth anniversary of the ceasefire agreement. "On the twentieth anniversary of the 1994 ceasefire agreement, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs invite the people of the region to reflect upon the legacy of the past two decades". They say that the ceasefire agreement did not resolve the underlying conflict. "It left the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh occupied and failed to provide a path forward on status for Nagorno- Karabakh". They think that a settlement will have to include the elements outlined by the Presidents of the co-chair countries in statements from 2009 to 2013, which include the return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, interim status for Nagorno- Karabakh guaranteeing security and self-governance, a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh, final status of Nagorno-Karabakh to be determined in the future by a legally-binding expression of will, the right of all internally-displaced persons and refugees to return, and international security guarantees, including a peacekeeping operation.