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OSCE Minsk Group Urges Armenia, Azerbaijan to Resume Talks on Disputed Region

© Sputnik / Karo Saakian / Go to the photo bankThe village of Talish in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone
The village of Talish in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone - Sputnik International
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Armenia and Azerbaijan should resume talks toward a settlement of their dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group advised in a joint statement.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Azerbaijan's Armenian-dominated breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh proclaimed independence in 1991. After the military conflict ended in 1994, Azerbaijan lost control over the region.

In early April this year, violence in the region caused numerous casualties. On August 5, Baku and Yerevan signed a Russian-brokered ceasefire, but both sides continue to accuse each other of misdeeds.

“We would like to reiterate our call to the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to demonstrate flexibility and to return to the negotiation table with the firm aim of moving toward a sustainable peace on the basis of the current working proposals,” Thursday’s statement said. “Unless progress can be made on negotiations, the prospects for renewed violence will only increase, and the parties will bear full responsibility.”

The group, tasked by the OSCE with brokering a lasting peace in Nagorno-Karabakh, also urged the sides to comply with 1994-1995 ceasefire agreements and to honor formal promises issued at summits this year in Vienna, Austria and St. Petersburg, Russia.

Soldiers of the army of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (File) - Sputnik International
Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh May Escalate at Any Moment
“Our countries will continue to work closely with the sides, and we call upon them to make full use of the assistance of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs as mediators,” the statement added. “The Co-Chair countries are prepared to host a meeting of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan when they are ready.”

Presidents Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev, of Armenia and Azerbaijan, respectively, met at the Vienna summit on May 16 to discuss the conflict. They reiterated there could be no military solution to the conflict and reaffirmed mutual commitments to the 1994 and 1995 peace agreements.

The two leaders also agreed to finalize an OSCE investigative mechanism as soon as possible to reduce the risk of further violence.

On June 20, the presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia met in St. Petersburg, where they further affirmed their desire for steady progress toward a political settlement over Nagorno-Karabakh and agreed to increase the number of OSCE monitors working in the conflict zone.

The OSCE Minsk Group was established in 1992 and is led by France, Russia and the United States.

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