Statement of OSCE Minsk Group2017 February 17 ( Friday ) 13:46:27
The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov (Russia), Stephan Visconti (France) and Richard Hoagland (USA) made a statement after a meeting with Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Berlin on February 16.
The Co-Chairs discussed with the Ministers the current situation on the contact line of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and reaffirmed that there is no alternative to a peaceful resolution of the conflict and that war is not an option.
They called on the parties to show restraint and urged them to prepare their populations for peace and not for war.
The Co-Chairs also called on the parties to comply strictly with the ceasefire agreement 1994-95, which form the basis of the cessation of hostilities.
The Co-Chairs reminded the joint statements of their Presidents in Deauville, stressing that the use of force would only bring more suffering and devastation, and would be condemned by the international community.
The Co-Chairs exchanged views with the parties on the measures to be taken to implement the decisions of the Summits in Vienna and St. Petersburg, 2016, aimed at stabilizing the situation in the conflict zone.
The Co-Chairs stressed the need to show flexibility and resume negotiations to achieve a comprehensive lasting settlement as soon as possible.
The Co-Chairs recognize that the recent decision of the Armenian authorities to return the body of an Azerbaijani soldier was a useful humanitarian gesture.
The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to strictly comply with their international humanitarian obligations.
The Co-chairs know about the so-called constitutional referendum scheduled to be held in Nagorno-Karabakh 20 February 2017. Although the co-chairs noted that the de facto Nagorno-Karabakh authorities are considering the use of this procedure as an attempt to organize the public life of their population, they point out that none of the countries, including Armenia and Azerbaijan, has recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent and sovereign state.
Accordingly, the co-chairs do not accept the results of the referendum on 20 February as affecting the legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Co-Chairs also emphasize that the results cannot in any way prejudge the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh or the outcome of the ongoing negotiations.
The Co-Chairs plan to travel to the region in March, the statement says. -16D-