International mediators spoke of a “new impetus” to the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict after discussing their further steps in the negotiating process in Moscow on Thursday.
The American, French and Russian co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group met there following a visit to Baku which two of them paid earlier this week.
In a joint statement, they said they reviewed “recent developments, including high level meetings in Washington, Baku, and Moscow.” They said those meetings provided “a new impetus to the advancement of a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of the Madrid Principles.”
“The Co-Chairs will travel to Vienna in early May to brief the Minsk Group on these efforts,” added the statement.
The group’s U.S. co-chair, Robert Bradtke, reportedly stated that the Karabakh peace process has reached a “critical phase” as he and outgoing Russian opposite number, Yuri Merzlyakov, arrived in Baku on Tuesday. They met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev the next day.
Aliyev said last week that Baku has accepted the co-chairs’ recently amended peace plan on Karabakh “with minor exceptions.” He claimed that the Armenian side is unwilling to go along with the proposed settlement and is now stalling for time. “If they don’t accept this proposal, then I think [further] negotiations will become meaningless,” he warned.
The Baku talks came amid Azerbaijani government allegations that the United States is increasingly siding with Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “We are not happy with the activity of the United States in the process of settling the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” a top aide to Aliyev, Ali Hasanov, said on April 15.
That was followed by the cancellation of joint U.S.-Azerbaijani military exercises slated for May.