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Italian FM: Increase of OSCE observers to speed up Karabakh conflict settlement

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An increase in the number of OSCE observers on the contact line between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops will speed up the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said.

Alfano made the remarks at the joint press-conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow Feb. 1.

“We think that any form of organizational support will be extremely useful for achieving the set goals,” Alfano said. “We think that the issue is a rather important and positive step. This is one of the phenomena that will be visible and significant support for speeding up the settlement process.”

“We support the work of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs,” he said. “We continue the policy of the previous OSCE chairing country and think that this is fair.”

Alfano said that the OSCE intends to contribute to the creation of any conditions for resolving protracted conflicts.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.

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