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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2001 > July
Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
July 11, 2001


Joint Communique of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs on Nagorno-Karabakh

The following statement was issued July 11 by U.S. Ambassador Carey Cavanaugh, Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov, and French Ambassador Phillip de Suremain in No-Man’s Land on the Fizuli-Ahmedbeli Road, Azerbaijan, on the Line of Contact between Azerbaijani and Nagorno-Karabakh/Armenian forces.

"We stand today just a short distance from where Armenian and Azerbaijani military forces last engaged in the tragic conflict that claimed the lives of about 30,000 people and displaced over a million others from their homes. Although seven years have passed since a cease-fire brought a welcome end to the warfare, we must not forget that small-scale fighting and incidents have claimed another thousand lives – mostly civilians – and continue to hold both countries hostage to the threat of war. These young soldiers around us spend their days peering warily across this devastated landscape at similar young men on the other side, never knowing when a random gunshot or shadowy figure at night will force them to take up arms and risk their lives once more.

This ‘no-peace, no-war’ situation is dangerously fragile. We are increasingly concerned that bellicose rhetoric, particularly notable in recent weeks, only exacerbates tensions and increases the risk of renewed conflict, probably not far from this very spot where we stand today. Any new fighting would benefit no one and would undermine the prospects for peace. Calls for a ‘military’ solution to the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh are irresponsible. We encourage all politicians, leaders of political, public, and religious organizations, figures of science and culture, representatives of mass media and all people of good will to demonstrate restraint and responsibility by avoiding any actions or statements that could aggravate the situation and harm the delicate peace process.

The parties should not take the fragile cease-fire for granted and must scrupulously abide by its provisions. Additional confidence-building measure to reduce the destruction and loss of life along the border and Line of Contact are also needed. The favorable climate that has supported the courageous efforts of Presidents Aliyev and Kocharian to negotiate a comprehensive peace must be maintained. Finally, we call on the people of both countries to understand the need for serious compromise to bring about a political settlement. Only in this way can peace, stability, and prosperity be achieved for the South Caucasus.

The Co-Chairs remain unanimous in their determination to continue active mediation efforts with all parties to put an end to this conflict."


Released on July 12, 2001

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