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Progress that has been made, OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs stated

The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Ambassador Igor Popov of Russia, Bernard Fassier of France, and Robert Bradtke of the United States, released the following statement today:

The Minsk Group Co-Chairs (Ambassador Bernard Fassier, France; Ambassador Robert Bradtke, United States; and Ambassador Igor Popov, Russia) visited Yerevan and Baku July 3-5. Ambassador Bradtke and Ambassador Popov also visited Nagorno-Karabakh July 2.

In Nagorno-Karabakh, Ambassador Bradtke and Ambassador Popov briefed the de facto authorities on the latest developments in the peace process, including the June 26, 2010 statement of Presidents Dmitry Medvedev, Barack Obama, and Nicolas Sarkozy. They also discussed the June 18-19 incident along the Line of Contact. They deplored this incident as an unacceptable violation of the ceasefire, and reiterated their regret over the senseless loss of life and their strong condemnation of the use of force. In Yerevan, the three Co-Chairs met President Serzh Sargsian, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, and Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan. In Baku, they met with President Ilham Aliyev, Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, Defense Minister Safar Abiyev, and representatives of Azerbaijani internally displaced persons from the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

In their meetings in both Yerevan and Baku, the Co-Chairs stressed the commitment of their three countries to support a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karbakh conflict, based upon the Helsinki principles of non-use of force or the threat of force, territorial integrity, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples. In that respect, they noted the progress that has been made and the recognition by both sides that the elements articulated by their three Presidents in L’Aquila and repeated in their June 26, 2010 statement must be the basis of a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They urged the parties, in a spirit of constructive compromise, to take the next step and move towards completing work on the Basic Principles to enable the drafting of a peace agreement to begin. They called upon the sides to strictly observe the 1994 ceasefire and exercise restraint along the Line of Contact. During their visit, the Co-chairs also presented to the parties their plan to undertake a mission to the occupied territories in this fall, which was accepted in principle.

The Co-Chairs expect that a meeting will take place between the heads of their delegations and the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan on the margins of the OSCE Informal Ministerial in Almaty July 16-17.

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