WASHINGTON—Armenia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Grigor Hovhannnisyan received on January 24, newly appointed U.S. Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, Richard Hoagland.
Hoagland will be joining the Russian and French Minsk Group Co-Chairs over the next five months.
“Ambassador Hoagland is a senior diplomat who brings into the Minsk process years of experience and in-depth knowledge of the CIS and Central Asian regions,” the Armenian Embassy said in a Facebook post.
In an interview with Mediamax News Aagency, the newly-appointed French Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Stephane Visconti discussed his vision of the peace process.
When asked if Nagorno-Karabakh) (Artsakh) should be given back their voice in the negotiation process, Visconti said “It is important to make a distinction between the formal ongoing negotiation format/mediation modalities (3 Co-chair countries + 2) and the overall settlement issue, which involves a larger spectrum of interested parties. I have mainly in mind the other members of the Minsk Group (6 countries plus the OSCE Troika) and, naturally, the Nagorno-Karabakh people. It is absolutely relevant and of crucial importance to listen to the voices of the populations and its representatives, and here I have in mind the de facto Nagorno-Karabakh authorities as well as the Nagorno-Karabakh/Azerbaijani representatives.”
“Let me also recall that the 1994 Budapest Summit of OSCE had originally recognized Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh as parties, the replacement of the negotiations’ trilateral format by bilateral Armenian-Azerbaijan talks was operated in 1998 when President Kocharian, former Karabakhi leader, came to power. Again, we are talking about a formal issue, I know for sure that the interests of Stepanakert are entirely taken into account by the Armenian negotiators,” he continued.
Commenting oof the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s meetings with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts on January 19, Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said “the negotiations were constructive” and added that “concrete ideas on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict were discussed.”
Zakharova on Friday said that the Karabakh conflict settlement is one of the priorities of the Russian foreign policy. She said meetings will be held in the future, but concrete dates have not yet been decided.