BRUSSELS—The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs — Igor Popov (Russia), Stephane Visconti (France) and Andrew Schofer (U.S.A.) — hosted an introductory meeting between Foreign Minister of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov on July 11 in Brussels, Belgium.
Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk also participated in the meeting, which was the first high-level meeting between the sides since the Velvet Revolution in Armenia and recent elections in Azerbaijan.
Mnatsakanyan thanked the Co-Chairs for organizing the meeting, and highlighted the vital role that they play at such discussions.
The foreign ministers exchanged views regarding the situation on the ground and discussed next steps and parameters for re-engaging in substantive negotiations. Agreeing to meet again, the sides considered several issues for future meetings, including a range of possible confidence-building measures.
There is no alternative to the negotiation process, Mnatsakanyan said, stressing the importance of creating an atmosphere conducive to peace, reinforcing trust and taking steps to ease tensions. He also emphasized the importance of commitment to the ceasefire and refusal from warlike rhetoric. Last peace can only be achieved if all parties to the conflict approach the situation realistically and constructively, he said.
The Co-Chairs stressed the importance of reducing tensions and avoiding inflammatory rhetoric. They also reiterated their commitment to helping the sides find a peaceful solution to the conflict based on the core principles of the Helsinki Final Act, including the non-use or threat of force, territorial integrity and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples.