OSCE chairman to visit South Caucasus – press officer

Wed 17 May 2017 12:14 GMT | 16:14 Local Time

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OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz plans to visit the South Caucasus region this year, Helene Spitzer, Press Officer of the Austrian OSCE Chairmanship told APA.

“A visit of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office to the region is planned in the course of the year. So far there are no fixed dates for this trip,” said the press officer.
 
Every year OSCE Chairmanship countries traditionally visit Armenia and Azerbaijan that are parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Serbia's Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić and Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who served as OSCE chairpersons in 2015 and 2016, respectively, also paid visits to Azerbaijan. 
 
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in 1988.
 
A fierce war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the war, Armenian armed forces occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory which includes Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts (Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan), and over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced people.
 
The military operations finally came to an end when Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in Bishkek in 1994.
 
Dealing with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the OSCE Minsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the CSCE (OSCE after the Budapest summit held in December 1994) Ministerial Council in Helsinki on 24 March 1992. The Group’s members include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belarus, Finland and Sweden.
 
Besides, the OSCE Minsk Group has a co-chairmanship institution, comprised of Russian, the US and French co-chairs, which began operating in 1996.  
 
Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the UN Security Council, which were passed in short intervals in 1993, and other resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, PACE, OSCE, OIC, and other organizations require Armenia to unconditionally withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh.

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