The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France) expressed their concern that there has been no humanitarian access to the crash site of the military helicopter downed by Azerbaijani forces on November 12.
The wreckage of the helicopter lies in a heavily mined area of neutral territory on the Line of Contact.
The area called “heavily mined area of neutral territory on the Line of Contact” by the co-chairs is internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan which is under occupation of Armenian Armed Forces.
An Armenian Mi-24 military helicopter flying 1,700 meters northeast of the Kengerli village of Azerbaijan’s Aghdam district attacked the Azerbaijani army positions on Nov. 12. The Azerbaijani side shot down the helicopter. The wreckage of the downed helicopter fell on an area located 500 meters away from the frontline.
“We call on the sides to cease firing in the vicinity of the crash site and facilitate the demining of the area surrounding the site,” the OSCE statement says.
In the spirit of the Astrakhan statement of October 2010 between the Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia, the Co-Chairs urge Azerbaijan to permit the recovery of the bodies of the victims, and Armenia to cooperate fully with all efforts to resolve this humanitarian situation.
“We note the presence of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk and his team in the region, and encourage the sides to use his good offices to allow access. We reaffirm our November 12 statement, reminding the sides of their responsibilities to respect the ceasefire and honor the commitments they made in Sochi, Newport, and Paris to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict,” the statement says.
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 two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.