YEREVAN — Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held his first meeting with OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Igor Popov of Russia, Stephane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States in Yerevan on Wednesday. The OSCE Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, Armenia’s recently appointed Foreign Minister, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, and Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan were also present.
Prime Minister Pashinyan emphasized the important role of the co-chairs in the negotiations process for a peaceful solution regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He was confident that an effective cooperation could be formed.
The Co-Chairs congratulated Pashinyan on his election to office and assured him that they would make all efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Pashinyan and the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs discussed the need for implementation of the Vienna, St. Petersburg and Geneva summit resolutions. The Co-Chairs informed Pashinyan about their upcoming working programs, and Pashinyan reaffirmed Armenia’s dedication to working with the OSCE Minsk Group toward a peaceful resolution.
The sides discussed the actions for creating an atmosphere that advances the negotiations process; they touched upon the situation at the line of contact.
Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan noted that Azerbaijan continues its measures aimed at destabilizing the situation on the contact line, emphasizing the recent sniper shooting by Azerbaijan that killed an Armenian soldier. The sides also referred to the moves and mobilization of Azerbaijani troops in Nakhichevan.
Tonoyan emphasized that Armenia remains committed to the unconditional preservation of the ceasefire. He further noted that the Armenian armed forces vigilantly follow the situation and monitor all moves by the Azerbaijani side.
During a government-parliament Q&A session, Republican MP Armen Ashotyan asked Foreign Minister Mnatsakanyan to present details on the OSCE meeting to the parliament at large.
“Has the Armenian side raised the issue of new negotiation approaches? Particularly about our new strategy of observing Artsakh as a negotiation side, about the mobilization of Azerbaijani armed forces in Nakhichevan and along the Artsakh-Azerbaijan contact line. And what was the respond of the Co-Chairs?” Ashotyan asked.
Mnatsakanyan informed parliamentarians that their concerns had been raised during the meeting.
“We have already clearly recorded the foreign policy priorities of the government, where Artsakh has its key place,” Mnatsakanyan said. “We expressed our position which is about the continuity of our policy in relation with Artsakh. We expressed our priority, which refers to Artsakh’s status in the negotiation process and the exceptional importance of its security.” He added that the Co-Chairs’ visit was reciprocal; they exchanged ideas and listened to each other.
Mnatsakanyan said that Armenia prioritizes an atmosphere of peace, but Azerbaijan takes contrary steps.
“We emphasized that the fact that a soldier was shot dead by the adversary in the recent days has a negative impact on the negotiation process and establishment of an atmosphere of peace. We said that this cannot remain unnoticed and will definitely have an impact on our position,” Mnatsakanyan said.