STEPANAKERT (Combined Sources)—The French, Russian and US co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group visited Stepanakert Wednesday and met with Nagorno-Karabakh Republic leaders after taking part in a monitoring of the Karabakh-Azerbaijan frontlines.
France’s Bernard Fassier, Russia’s Igor Popov and the US’s Robert Bradtke traveled to Stepanakert after meeting in Baku Tuesday, crossing the border from Mardakert, which has been the scene of the most violent clashes after Azeri forces attacked Karabakh positions. Two such incidents in one week, claimed the lives of at least five Azeri soldiers.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the monitoring of what is called the “line of contact” went according to schedule, adding that no cease-fire violations were registered during the visit.
During talks in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian expressed concern to the OSCE co-chairmen about the rise in Azeri violation of the cease fire, saying the recent incursions have caused concern and pose a serious threat to the national security of Karabakh.
Calling a military solution to the conflict unacceptable, Sahakian urged the co-chairmen to use their influence to steer Azerbaijan toward a more constructive approach in the continuing peace talks.
“Both sides pointed out that the military option of resolving the conflict is absolutely unacceptable,” said an official statement from the Karabakh Presidential Office.
“I can not share our impressions with you because … we are only in the middle of our mission,” Fassier told journalists in Stepanakert, adding that his Russian and US colleagues would issue a joint communiqué after scheduled talks with President Serzh Sarkisian in Yerevan on Thursday.
Earlier this week, the three co-chairmen issued a statement condemning the recent attacks and cease-fire violations, but refused to acknowledge Azerbaijan’s role as an instigator in the attacks.