In a joint statement issued after the talks held in the Russian city of Kazan, the three leaders reported further progress towards the conflict’s resolution. But contrary to international mediators’ expectations, they clearly failed bridge all of their remaining differences on the basic principles of a compromise settlement proposed by the United States, Russia and France.
The short statement circulated by the Kremlin said Armenia’s Serzh Sarkisian and Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev reached a “mutual understanding on a number of issues whose resolution would help to create conditions for the approval of the basic principles.” It did not elaborate.
Russia - President Dmitry Medvedev (C) hosts Armenian-Azerbaijani peace negotiations in Kazan, 24Jan2011.
None of the presidents made any public statements after the talks that lasted for more than three hours. The Russian, Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers also attended them.
The outcome of the Kazan summit appears to be a major setback for the mediating powers’ peace efforts, which have gained momentum and raised fresh hopes for a long-awaited breakthrough in recent months.
The Moscow daily “Kommersant” quoted unnamed Russian officials as saying ahead of the talks that Aliyev and Sarkisian are poised to cut a historic peace deal. “We have never been so close to success before,” one of them said.
The Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents reported progress after their previous encounter hosted and mediated by Medvedev in March. Their foreign ministers said they narrowed the conflicting parties’ differences on “a number of key issues of the basic principles” at a recent meeting in Moscow.
It was not immediately clear just how significant the reported progress at Kazan is or whether the parties and the mediators will hold follow-up talks in the coming weeks.