By Ruzanna Stepanian
International mediators in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are due to arrive in the Armenian capital Friday after having reportedly discussed the current state of the negotiating process with Azerbaijan’s leadership in Baku.
Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan confirmed to RFE/RL on Thursday that the US, Russian and French cochairmen of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group will be in Yerevan November 14 and will hold a meeting with Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian the same day.
According to the President's spokesman Samvel Farmanian, the co-chairs will also meet President Serzh Sarkisian while in Armenia.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that while in Baku Matthew Bryza, Yuri Merzlyakov and Bernard Fassier met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev to discuss “the current state and prospects of the negotiations over the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
The troika’s visit to the region comes less than two weeks after the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, together with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, signed a declaration in Moscow pledging to continue and step up the prolonged search for a peaceful political solution to the long-running dispute.
Amid fresh international hopes for a breakthrough in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks Sarkisian left Moscow for Paris where he met with French President Nicholas Sarkozy and then visited Brussels for high-level meetings with European Union and NATO leaders.
The Moscow declaration, in particular, refers to the principles drafted by the Minsk Group and presented to the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan at the OSCE summit in Madrid in November 2007 as a likely basis for continued talks on a peace accord.
Nagorno-Karabakh, a former predominantly Armenian-populated autonomous region of Soviet Azerbaijan, has been controlled by local ethnic-Armenian forces since the area broke free of Baku’s control following a bloody war that lasted for nearly three years and left thousands on both sides killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. A Russia-brokered ceasefire agreement in 1994 put an end to the hostilities, but sporadic clashes along the line of contact have continued to date.