The U.S., Russian and French mediators did not shed more light on the uncertain future of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process on Friday after meeting with Armenian leaders in Yerevan on the second leg of their latest tour of the region.
The three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group held separate talks with President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian the day after their visit to Stepanakert.
Robert Bradtke, the U.S. co-chair, told reporters that they had “a lot to discuss” with Sarkisian and Nalbandian. In particular, he said, they spoke about new “ideas” which the mediators presented to Nalbandian and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov at their most recent meeting held in Paris late last month. Bradtke again declined to elaborate on those proposals that are meant to kick-start the frozen peace process.
“Let’s wait and see how events develop,” Popov said for his part.
Sarkisian’s press office gave no details of the talks. It said only that they focused on “issues relating to the current stage of the negotiating process and further steps.”
The Armenian Foreign Ministry, for its part, said Nalbandian complained to Bradtke, Russia’s Igor Popov and France’s Jacques Faure about continuing “provocative statements” made by Azerbaijani leaders. “As much as they are intended for internal use, they cause serious damage to the negotiating process and escalate the situation in the region,” he was cited as saying.
Nalbandian appeared to refer to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s November 16 speech in which he branded Armenia a “colony” created on “ancient Azerbaijani lands” and run from abroad. “We will continue our efforts to isolate Armenia,” Aliyev said.
According to a Foreign Ministry statement, the co-chairs also discussed the possibility of arranging another meeting between Nalbandian and Mammadyarov on the sidelines of an OSCE ministerial conference which is due to take place in Dublin next month.
Popov indicated that the mediators will not seek to organize fresh meetings between Aliyev and Sarkisian in the months ahead. “Negotiations are currently taking place at the level of the foreign ministers,” he said. “I think that process will continue at the ministerial level at least in the coming months.”
Aliyev and Sarkisian came close to agreeing on the mediators’ Basic Principles of a Karabakh settlement when they met in Russia in June 2011. That meeting, hosted by then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, did not produce a breakthrough, however. The peace process has been effectively deadlocked since then.