International mediators proposed unpublicized ways of kick-starting the stalled Nagorno-Karabakh peace process during renewed Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations that were organized by them in Paris over the weekend.
Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s foreign ministers met in the presence of the U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group for the first time since an international scandal sparked by the release from prison of an Azerbaijani army officer who hacked to death an Armenian colleague in Hungary.
“The Co-Chairs stressed to the Ministers the importance of reducing tensions among the parties. They presented their ideas on a working proposal to advance the peace process,” the mediating troika said in a statement issued on Sunday.
“The Foreign Ministers reiterated their determination to continue working with the Co-Chairs to reach a peaceful settlement. The Ministers and the Co-Chairs agreed to a further discussion of these ideas during the Co-Chairs’ visit to the region in November,” said the statement.
The foreign ministries in Baku and Yerevan issued virtually identical statements on the Paris talks.
It was not clear if the mediators’ proposal relates to confidence-building measures in the conflict zone or the essence of their draft framework peace accord submitted to the conflicting parties last year. The latter disagree on some key details of the proposed Basic Principles of resolving the Karabakh conflict.
Further talks between the two sides were effectively frozen after the Azerbaijani axe-murderer Ramil Safarov was released from a Hungarian prison and given a hero’s welcome in Azerbaijan on August 31. The Armenian government reacted furiously to the development and faced domestic calls to pull out of the Karabakh peace process.
The Minsk Group co-chairs held separate crisis talks with Nalbandian and Mammadyarov in Paris just days after Safarov was pardoned and promoted by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. In an ensuing joint statement, they expressed “deep concern” at the pardon, saying that it undermined their efforts to broker a peaceful settlement.