The Co-Chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group have called for the withdrawal of all foreign mercenaries from the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh in an official statement released on December 3.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Minsk Group was formed by Russia, France and the U.S. in 1992 to encourage Armenia and Azerbaijan to reach a peaceful settlement on Nagorno-Karabakh.
In the new statement, the OSCE Minsk Group stressed its support for the peace deal brokered by Russia on November 9. The deal put an end to an large-scale Azerbaijani attack on Nagorno-Karabakh.
The group called upon Armenia and Azerbaijan to fully implement their obligations under the Russian-brokered deal to stabilize the region.
“The Co-Chair countries highlight the significance of measures taken by the Russian Federation, in agreement with Azerbaijan and Armenia, to guarantee the non-renewal of hostilities,” the statement reads. “They also call for the full and prompt departure from the region of all foreign mercenaries, and call upon all parties to facilitate this departure.”
The statement said Armenia and Azerbaijan should exchange prisoners, repatriate remains and facilitate the return of all refugees to Nagorno-Karabakh.
“The Co-Chair countries urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to take advantage of the current ceasefire to negotiate a lasting and sustainable peace agreement under the auspices of the Co-Chairs,” the statement adds.
Many ethnic Armenians of different nationalists volunteered to fight with the Armenian military in Nagorno-Karabakh. However, more than 2,000 Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries, including a number of radicals, fought on Azerbaijan’s side in exchange for money.
The presence of Syrian mercenaries in Nagorno-Karabakh will not destabilize the region only but the entire Caucasus. Recent reports revealed that Azerbaijan is departing the mercenaries, despite Turkish plans to settle them there.
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