The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia said Tuesday that talks between their countries' leaders had made no progress toward a settlement of the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, but that they had instructions to continue negotiations.
Armenian President Robert Kocharian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev discussed the long-standing conflict on the sidelines of a Black Sea summit in Bucharest, Romania, on Sunday and Monday. Representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is trying to broker a resolution of the 18-year-old conflict, were also present.
Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian told state television that the talks had been conducted "in a normal atmosphere, but they did not succeed in registering progress and giving a positive impulse to solving the problem of the Karabakh conflict." Still, he said that he and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov had orders to try to find points on which they could bring the two countries' positions closer.
Mammadyarov said that, in spite of the lack of a breakthrough, the Aliev-Kocharian meeting had seen a "wide discussion" of the details of a settlement. "We decided to continue the process and, if necessary, to hold another meeting at the level of foreign ministers," Mammadyarov said.