MOSCOW, October 9. /TASS/. The OSCE Minsk Group has expressed readiness to help organize a meeting between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, according to the statement by co-chairs of the Minsk Group Igor Khovaev (Russia), Andrew Schofer (the US) and Stephane Visconti (France) published on the OSCE website on Friday.
"The Co-Chairs have taken positive note of President Aliyev’s and Prime Minister Pashinyan’s public statements expressing their readiness in principle to meet with each other under the auspices of the Co-Chairs," the statement said.
"The Co-Chairs look forward to engaging the sides on modalities and details of such a meeting and reiterate their willingness to visit the region in the near future to discuss next steps in the process," the document noted.
In light of a recent constructive meeting of Azerbaijan’s and Armenia’s foreign ministers, the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group welcomed the release of an Armenian serviceman by Azerbaijan. They also discussed possible measures on de-escalation, including with regards to those detained and missing in action as well as on the voluntary return of refugees.
On October 2, the Azerbaijani president said he was eager to meet with the Armenian prime minister when he was ready for it. He vowed to respond in kind should Armenia hand over minefield maps. On October 3, Armenian prime minister said he was prepared to meet with the Azerbaijani president. He added that he was ready to take along the maps of all minefields and urged him to take along all Armenian POWs to this meeting. At the end of September, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov met with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly and with his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan with their participation.
In the fall of 2020, the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated with armed clashes occurring on the disputed territory. On November 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a complete ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh. According to the document, the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides would maintain the positions that they had held, a number of regions would be controlled by Azerbaijan, and Russian peacekeepers would be deployed to the region along the line of engagement and the Lachin corridor. On January 11, the leaders of the three countries agreed to create a working group at the level of deputy prime ministers which would focus on establishing transportation and economic links in the region.