New US co-chair of OSCE MG says he would like to see Azerbaijani, Armenian presidents to meet at soonest opportunity

The new U.S. Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Andrew Schofer has said that he looks forward to working with his fellow French and Russian co-chairs to continue to encourage the sides of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to engage constructively with each other.

“I would like to see the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia agree to meet at the soonest opportunity, and to focus on good faith negotiations aimed at moving the peace process forward,” Schofer told on Wednesday.

“I understand there are many difficult issues to discuss, but I believe a resolution is possible. For this to happen, however, the leadership of Azerbaijan and Armenia must first demonstrate the political will necessary to bring peace to this region. This conflict has gone on for far too long,” he added.

The US has recently announced the appointment of Andrew Schofer as the next US Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group.

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 December 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. APA