BAKU, 24 October 2011 - The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Bernard Fassier of France, Robert Bradtke of the United States, and Igor Popov of the Russian Federation) and Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk (Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office) traveled October 21-24 to Yerevan, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Baku. The Co-Chairs met with Presidents Sargsian and Aliyev, and with the de facto authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Co-Chairs stressed to the sides the need to improve significantly the atmosphere of negotiations, increase trust, and strengthen implementation of the ceasefire to allow further progress toward reaching a peaceful settlement. The Co-Chairs offered several proposals for measures to enhance confidence in different fields. The sides agreed in principle on the draft mechanism to investigate incidents along the front lines that the Co-Chairs proposed in April, and which Presidents Aliyev, Sargsian, and Medvedev agreed to pursue in their March joint statement in Sochi.
The Co-Chairs also met separately with His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and with Sheykhulislam Allahshukur Pashazade, Grand Mufti and Chairman of the Caucasus Muslim Board, to discuss the necessity of preparing the populations for a just, lasting, and peaceful settlement.
On October 22, the Co-Chairs crossed the Line of Contact by foot for the fourth time in the past fourteen months. This crossing highlighted again that the Line is not a permanent barrier between neighboring peoples, and demonstrated that military coordination is possible when all the sides are willing.
The Co-Chairs will return to the region in late November to continue their work with the sides to develop the measures described above and to determine next steps to pave the way for future meetings between the sides.