By Harry Tamrazian in Prague
The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan met on Monday in the presence of international mediators for a third time in as many months, but again left no indications of an imminent breakthrough in the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The day-long meeting again took place in the Czech capital Prague and was attended by the French, Russian and U.S. co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. It was the first face-to-face encounter between Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mamedyarov since the envoys’ visit to the zone of conflict last month.
“We are continuing what we began at our first meeting,” Oskanian told RFE/RL during a lunchtime break in the talks. “Our main objective to create a common basis upon which we could build during further negotiations.”
“We are working toward that objective and I can’t say we have achieved it,” he added.
Asked whether the two sides have made any progress in the last few months, he said: “It’s a bit early to speak of common approaches. But the dialogue is useful.”
While touring Armenia, Azerbaijan and Karabakh in late July, the mediators openly criticized the conflicting parties for their perceived intransigence. The troika said bluntly that the onus is on them, not the Minsk Group, to push the protracted peace process forward.
The co-chairs were earlier said to be working on a new peace plan that would try to combine the so-called step-by-step strategy of conflict resolution preferred by Azerbaijan with the Armenian side’s insistence on a package deal that would settle all sticking points at once. They declined a comment on Monday.