by Tatevik Shahunyan
The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Jacques Faure of France, and James Warlick of the United States of America) and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, traveled to Baku and Yerevan February 4-5.
The co-chairs said in a statement that in Baku, they met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, and in Yerevan they met with Armenian President Serzh Sargsian. In both capitals, they had consultations with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense.
With the Presidents, the Co-Chairs discussed the outcome of the Foreign Ministers' recent meeting in Paris, and stressed the need for further progress on the substance of negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They emphasized the need to continue negotiations at the highest level, as was agreed in Vienna.
In their talks, the Co-Chairs reiterated their deep concern over the recent escalation on the Line of Contact and the border, and called on the sides to exercise restraint in their actions and rhetoric. The sides stated their intention to strengthen observance of the ceasefire and avoid further escalation, particularly in light of the upcoming Olympic Games in Sochi.
The Co-Chairs will continue consultations with the sides in the weeks ahead, in preparation for high level meetings.