March 20, 2020 - 11:09 AMT
OSCE Minsk Group urges Karabakh conflict sides against provocations

The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have urged the sides to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict to reaffirm their commitment to strictly observe the ceasefire and refrain from provocations that could further raise tensions.

Igor Popov of Russia, Stéphane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States are the co-chairs of the Minsk Group, tasked to mediate negotiations between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Karabakh (Artsakh).

The co-chairs revealed that the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office has suspended monitoring exercises due to the exceptional situation created by the spread of COVID-19,

"Recognizing that the region’s medical resources should be dedicated exclusively to combating the spread of the virus and treating those affected, we urge the sides to exercise the greatest possible restraint to lessen the risk of escalation including by making maximum use of the existing direct communication links," a statement dated March 19 reads.

"Despite the heavy restrictions on international travel, the co-chairs will continue their mediation efforts without interruption, remaining in close contact with each other and with the sides."

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Armenia has grown by 14 overnight to reach 136 as of Friday, March 20 morning, the country's Health Ministry reveals.