The OSCE Minsk Group (MG) co-chairs plan to visit the region in March this year, read a statement made the co-chairs on the outcomes of the meetings they held separately and jointly with Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers in Munich, APA reported.
“The co-chairs are aware that a so-called constitutional referendum is scheduled to take place in Nagorno-Karabakh on February 20, 2017,” said the statement.
“Although the co-chairs note that the de-facto Nagorno-Karabakh authorities view the use of such a procedure as an effort to organize the public life of their population, they underscore again that no countries, including Armenia and Azerbaijan, recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent and sovereign state,” said the statement. “Accordingly, the co-chairs do not accept the results of the referendum on February 20 as affecting the legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
The co-chairs also stressed that the results in no way prejudge the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh or the outcome of the ongoing negotiations to bring a lasting and peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The co-chairs added that they plan to travel to the region in March this region.
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.