The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France) met separately with the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Mr. Edward Nalbandian, and the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov, on July 22 in Brussels, OSCE press release reported.
The Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, also participated in the meetings.
The Co-Chairs expressed their serious concern about the increase in tensions and violence, including the targeted killings of civilians, along the Line of Contact and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. They urged the parties to commit themselves to avoiding casualties and rejected the deliberate targeting of villages and the civilian population. They called on the Foreign Ministers to defuse tensions and adhere to the terms of the ceasefire.
The Co-Chairs and Foreign Ministers also discussed possible agenda items for a presidential summit, underscoring the importance of a meeting between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan for achieving progress in peace negotiations. They also discussed meetings which could take place in New York on the margins of the UN General Assembly.
The Co-Chairs continue to review possible security confidence building measures and people-to-people programs with the parties. They believe that such programs build the trust and confidence necessary for a lasting peace.
In Vienna, the Co-Chairs briefed the countries of the Minsk Group about the status of peace negotiations.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.
As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.