OSCE monitors. Image courtesy of Armenian Defense Ministry

Mediators from France, Russia and the United States, working as part of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)’s Minsk Group, in October 17 statement stressed “the critical importance of monitoring missions led by the PRCIO [Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE], in accordance with his mandate and longstanding practice.

“The Co-Chairs called on the sides to continue to support fully the activities of the PRCIO and his team and to ensure that any obstacles potentially interfering with monitoring missions are removed immediately.”

In recent years half a dozen of OSCE personnel led by Polish diplomat Andrzej Kasprzyk would monitor the Armenian-Azerbaijani Line of Contact twice a month. The latest such mission was reported almost a month ago, on September 18, held in the south-east of Artsakh’s Martuni district.

No explanation has been made public for the current delay, but a source familiar with the issue told the Focus on Karabakh that the monitoring was expected to resume this month.

The three OSCE co-chairs visited with Armenia, Artsakh and Azerbaijan leaders between October 14 and 17. Even though the parties have not resumed negotiations on conflict settlement, the Line of Contact has remained largely stable with the exception of several shooting incidents.

No leadership summit is currently anticipated, with Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan last meeting at the Commonwealth of Independent States summit in Turkmenistan on October 10-11. Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers are expected to meet again before the end of the year, likely at the OSCE Ministerial in Slovakia in early December.

Efforts by Armenia and the mediators to expand the OSCE monitoring mission have been rejected by Azerbaijan.

UPDATE: OSCE monitors visited the Line of Contact in east of Karabakh on October 22, NKR’s Foreign Ministry reported on the same day.