The U.S. hopes for continuation of good faith negotiations on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
American co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Andrew Schofer told Trend on September 19, on the eve of the expected meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers in New-York on the conflict resolution.
“While there are obviously many difficult issues to discuss, I believe firmly that a resolution is possible, provided leadership of Azerbaijan and Armenia demonstrate the political will necessary to bring peace to this region,” the diplomat noted.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict 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 regions. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations brokered by the OSCE Minsk Group.
Baku has repeatedly stated it is ready to settle the conflict through direct negotiations with Armenia with mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. However, the reluctance of Armenia does not let to end the conflict and to restore peace in the South Caucasus.
Schofer further added that he also looks forward to participating in meetings with his fellow Minsk Group co-chairs and senior officials from the region in New York this week, and hoped for the meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents.
“The other co-chairs and I are hopeful that the presidents will agree to meet again soon, and that we will be able to continue to focus on good faith negotiations aimed at moving the peace process forward,” the co-chair added.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov are currently in New York, where they participate in the work of the UN General Assembly. Previously, Mammadyarov noted that he will probably meet with his Armenian counterpart in the framework of the UN General Assembly session to mull the Karabakh problem.
Schofer also said that he is very honored to have been selected to serve as the U.S. Minsk Group co-chair, and he is looking forward to visiting the region in the near future to meet with officials on all sides.
The American diplomat took office on August 29, replacing the interim U.S. co-chair of the Minsk Group Richard Hoagland.
The Minsk Group spearheads the OSCE’s efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Although the Minsk Group co-chaired by France, the Russian Federation and the U.S. deals with the issue for over two decades, its activities have brought no breakthrough results so far.
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