Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Office, October 23, 2020)

OSCE Minsk Group Foreign Ministers Issue Joint Statement


TIRANA — The heads of the delegation of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group Co-Chair countries — Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, Deputy Secretary of State of the United States Stephen E. Biegun, and Minister for European and Foreign Affairs of France Jean-Yves Le Drian — released a statement on December 3. The statement is reproduced in its entirety below.

We welcome the cessation of military activities in the area of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in accordance with the statement by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, and President of the Russian Federation from November 9, 2020.

The Co-Chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group call upon Armenia and Azerbaijan to continue implementing fully their obligations under the November 9 statement, in Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts, as well as their previous ceasefire commitments. The Co-Chair countries highlight the significance of measures taken by the Russian Federation, in agreement with Azerbaijan and Armenia, to guarantee the non-renewal of hostilities. They also call for the full and prompt departure from the region of all foreign mercenaries, and call upon all parties to facilitate this departure.

The Co-Chair countries remind Armenia and Azerbaijan of their obligation to comply with the requirements of international humanitarian law, in particular with regard to the exchange of prisoners of war and the repatriation of remains.  They underline the importance of guaranteeing conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of people displaced by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, including during the recent hostilities. They underscore the importance of protecting historical and religious heritage in and around Nagorno-Karabakh. The Co-Chair countries call on Azerbaijan and Armenia to cooperate fully with the relevant international organizations to implement their obligations in these areas and ensure humanitarian access.

The Co-Chair countries appeal to the international community including ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross], UN institutions, and other appropriate structures as well as OSCE Minsk Group individual countries to take concrete steps to improve the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent areas in a coordinated way.  The Co-Chairs also reiterate their strong support for the continuing work of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chair-in-Office (PRCiO) and his team.

The Co-Chair countries urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to take advantage of the current ceasefire to negotiate a lasting and sustainable peace agreement under the auspices of the Co-Chairs. In that context, the Co-Chair countries urge the parties to receive the Co-Chairs in the region at the earliest opportunity and to commit to substantive negotiations to resolve all outstanding issues in accordance with an agreed timetable.

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The Co-Chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group recall their firm commitment to the non-use or threat of force to settle disputes. They reiterate their consistent and united position in favor of a negotiated, comprehensive, and sustainable settlement of all remaining core substantive issues of the conflict in line with the basic principles and elements well-known to both Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Co-Chair countries remain fully committed to pursuing this objective in line with their long-standing efforts to promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the region.

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