By Armen Dulian
President Robert Kocharian said through a spokesman on Thursday that he does not plan to meet his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliev on the fringes of a Commonwealth of Independent States summit that will open in Moscow on Friday.
Both leaders are due attend the unofficial gathering of the leaders of twelve former Soviet republics. A senior aide to Aliev, Novruz Mamedov, told the Interfax news agency that they could use it for fresh face-to-face negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“Such a meeting is not planned in Moscow,” Kocharian’s press secretary, Victor Soghomonian, told RFE/RL. He said Kocharian is only scheduled to hold a separate meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Aliev’s and Kocharian’s failure to meet again would deal a further blow to dwindling hopes for the signing of an Armenian-Azerbaijani framework peace accord on Karabakh before the end of this year. They already held two rounds of peace talks earlier this year, but failed to achieve a breakthrough contrary to the expectations of international mediators.
The American, French and Russian mediators said last month that they will not arrange more negotiations until the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents show the “political will” to make painful mutual concessions. This stance was endorsed on Monday by the leaders of the world’s eight leading industrialized nations during their meeting in Saint Petersburg, Russia. In a joint statement, they urged Baku and Yerevan to hammer out agreement on the key principles of a Karabakh settlement this year.