By Ruben Meloyan
A senior U.S. official paid on Wednesday a brief and apparently unexpected visit to Yerevan which the Armenian Foreign Ministry said focused on international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza, who is also Washington’s chief Karabakh negotiator, met with President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian and made no public statements afterwards. Sarkisian’s office also did not immediately report any details of the talks.
According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Bryza passed on to Nalbandian a message from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton relating to U.S.-Armenian relations, regional security and the ongoing dialogue between Armenia and Turkey. A ministry statement said Clinton “warmly recalled” her March 17 phone conversation with Sarkisian that also touched on these subjects.
“In the message, Secretary of State Clinton expressed her readiness to provide utmost support to the process of a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict,” said the statement. “During the meeting Eduard Nalbandian and Matthew Bryza discussed issues pertaining to the Artsakh (Karabakh) negotiating process,” it added without elaborating.
Bryza already visited Yerevan as well as Baku and Stepanakert early this month together with the two other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Yuri Merzlyakov of Russia and Bernard Fassier of France. The three mediators expressed hope that the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet again soon and make further progress towards the signing of a framework Karabakh peace accord. The meeting could take place on the sidelines of a European Union summit in Prague scheduled for May 7.