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Yerevan Eyes OSCE Role In Final Nagorno-Karabakh Settlement

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Ann Linde (left) and Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Aivaiyan speak at a joint press conference following their talks in Yerevan on March 16.

Armenia believes any final political solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be negotiated solely within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk Group.

At a joint news conference in Yerevan with Sweden's visiting foreign minister and OSCE chairperson-in-office, Ann Linde, Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazian said on March 16 that Armenia views the trilateral agreement signed by Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan on November 9 to end six weeks of fighting in the breakaway region last fall as an interim solution.

"Although it contains some provisions concerning the peaceful settlement, it does not address its key elements, and the most important among them is the issue of the status of Artsakh, based on the right of the Armenians of Artsakh to self-determination," Ayvazian said, using the Armenian name for Nagorno-Karabakh.

"A final political solution to the conflict is possible only within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship," Ayvazian added, referring to the format jointly headed by Russia, the United States, and France that has had an international mandate to broker a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict since the early 1990s.

Linde arrived in Yerevan late on March 15 after visiting Baku, where she met with the president and foreign minister of Azerbaijan.

The purpose of her visit to the region is to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and the situation after the recent war with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

"Recent developments in the region have underlined the need for a strong, I emphasize, strong OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship, which will be able to lead the peace process on the basis of principles and elements developed over the years," Ayvazian added.

"We also need a strong, cohesive OSCE as an institute responsible for regional security and peace. In this context, we attach importance to the role of the OSCE chairmanship, including the personal representative of the OSCE chairperson-in-office," he said.

In the Armenian capital, the OSCE's chairperson-in-office was also scheduled to meet with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian on March 16.

Under the Moscow-brokered cease-fire that put an end to the fighting, a chunk of Nagorno-Karabakh and all seven districts around it were placed under Azerbaijani administration after almost 30 years of control by ethnic Armenian forces.

Since then, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly stated that he considers the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolved and sees no issue of the region’s status.