December 3rd, 2007 02:20 EST
Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group Make Statement
Prior to the opening of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Madrid on 29 November 2007, the Foreign Minister of Russia S.Lavrov, the Foreign of France B.Kouchner, and the Under Secretary of State of the United States N.Burns, representing the Co-Chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group dealing with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, met with the Foreign Minister of Armenia and Azerbaijan, V.Oskanian and E.Mammadyarov.
In this meeting these high-ranking representatives of the three Co-Chair countries transmitted a joint proposal to the parties for the consideration of their Presidents, consisting of a set of fair and balanced Basic Principles of the peaceful settlement of the conflict.
During the meeting it was noted that over the last three years of talks the parties have significantly narrowed their differences with the mediation of the Co-Chairs. It was also agreed that the time has come to bridge the last remaining differences. The Co-Chairs have offered even-handed and equitable solutions to these final differences. They also emphasized it is critical not to lose what has been achieved during these past three years. The document of the Basic Principles that was transmitted to the sides is considered by Moscow, Paris, and Washington, as well as the OSCE, to be the most viable framework for a future settlement.
The parties to the conflict were strongly urged to bring to a close the current stage of negotiations by endorsing the Basic Principles and commencing as soon as possible a new phase dedicated to drafting a comprehensive Peace Agreement.
In addition the parties have been asked not to obstruct the resumption of OSCE monitoring on the Line of Contact, to develop confidence building measures in all possible fields, to prepare their populations for peace, and to cease immediately all statements intimating war is an option.
Finally, the three Co-Chair countries expressed once more their readiness to assist the sides in their efforts to reach a peaceful settlement of the conflict and to help with its implementation.
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