OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs are ready to organize a meeting of foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia as part of the Munich Security Conference in mid-February, Russian co-chair Igor Popov told TASS, APA reported.
He said the co-chairs plan to hold separate consultations with both of the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers during the conference.
“In case the ministers show interest, we will organize their meeting,” Popov added.
The co-chair noted that the Nagorno-Karabakh peace efforts in the Russia-Azerbaijan-Armenia format are ongoing in line with last year’s Saint Petersburg agreement.
“The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been recently discussed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with Edward Nalbandyan and then with Elmar Mammadyarov. If necessary, the opportunity to hold a trilateral meeting may arise,” Popov added. .
Azerbaijani FM Elmar Mammadyarov earlier said he will have a meeting with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in 1988.
A fierce war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the war, Armenian armed forces occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory which includes Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts (Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan), and over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced people.
The military operations finally came to an end when Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in Bishkek in 1994.
Dealing with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the OSCE Minsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the CSCE (OSCE after the Budapest summit held in Dec.1994) Ministerial Council in Helsinki on 24 March 1992. The Group’s members include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belarus, Finland and Sweden.
Besides, the OSCE Minsk Group has a co-chairmanship institution, comprised of Russian, the US and French co-chairs, which began operating in 1996.
Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the UN Security Council, which were passed in short intervals in 1993, and other resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, PACE, OSCE, OIC, and other organizations require Armenia to unconditionally withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh.