A team of U.S., Russian and French diplomats met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku on Friday at the start of a fresh tour of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone aimed at kick-starting Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks.
Aliyev’s press office said he discussed with the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group the current state of the negotiating process, which appears to have stalled after last month’s Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in the Russian city of Kazan. It gave no details.
The mediators are due in Yerevan on Monday for similar talks with President Serzh Sarkisian. They are expected to proceed to Stepanakert afterwards.
In a joint statement last week, the co-chairs tried to put a brave face on Aliyev’s and Sarkisian’s failure to agree on the basic principles of resolving the Karabakh dispute at Kazan. They insisted that “progress was made” there.”
“The outcome of Kazan, including confirmation by the sides that they will continue to seek a negotiated settlement, provides momentum that the parties should use to reach agreement on the Principles as soon as possible,” they said. “The remaining differences should not prevent the sides from accepting the Basic Principles and moving on to the treaty-drafting phase of the peace process.”
The July 5 statement came three days before Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov handed Aliyev and Sarkisian a letter from Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev. It contained proposals on how to break the impasse in the talks.
The Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders have not yet officially responded to the unpublicized message.
Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama discussed the Karabakh issue in a phone call on Monday. Lavrov met Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington in the following days.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Friday that Lavrov will meet with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov in Moscow on Monday.