The United States has expressed hope that the appointment of James Warlick as a new co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group brokering settlement to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would invigorate the peace negotiations.
U.S. Mission to Azerbaijan Charge d'Affaires Dereck Hogan told journalists on August 20 that Warlick has already contacted the U.S. embassy and the embassy is currently negotiating with the Azerbaijani government on the organization and date of the co-chair's visit to Azerbaijan.
"The United States as... a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group has constantly supported close contacts with Azerbaijan with a view to maximum assistance to accelerate the given process. I think that after visits to Azerbaijan and Armenia Warlick will discuss the current issue and as a representative of the United States will consult with the government about what we can do to speed up this process," Hogan said.
He said the United States would work to foster progress in the negotiation process within the OSCE Minsk Group to the greatest extent possible.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced on August 5 the appointment of Ambassador James Warlick as the next U.S. co-chair of the Minsk Group. Warlick is due to take up his new position in September.
He most recently served as Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and lead negotiator for the Bilateral Security Agreement with Afghanistan. He served as Ambassador to Bulgaria from 2009-2012, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs from 2006 to 2009 and Director of the Office of European Security and Political Affairs from 2005 to 2006.
Ian Kelly currently acts as a temporary representative of the U.S. to the Minsk Group.
Kelly was named as the U.S. co-chair on an interim basis on December 21, 2012, pending the appointment of a new permanent co-chair.
In December Robert Bradtke completed his term as the U.S. Minsk Group co-chair.
The U.S., along with Russia and France, has long been working to broker a solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through the Minsk Group, but their efforts have been largely fruitless so far.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict emerged in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since a lengthy war in the early 1990s that displaced over one million Azerbaijanis, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions.