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Karabakh Mediators Schedule Another Regional Tour


France - Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian (R) arrives for a meeting with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs in Paris, 02Sep2012.

France - Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian (R) arrives for a meeting with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs in Paris, 02Sep2012.

U.S., Russian and French mediators will again tour the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone later this month after holding fresh talks with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan at the weekend.

Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said on Thursday that the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group will arrive in Armenia and Karabakh “in the last week of March.” They will also visit Azerbaijan.

The mediating troika announced plans to travel to the region “in the coming weeks” after holding separate meetings with Nalbandian and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in Paris on Saturday and Sunday.

In a statement on those talks issued on Monday, the diplomats -- Ian Kelly, Igor Popov and Jacques Faure -- said they “repeated their concerns” regarding Armenian plans to launch commercial flights to Karabakh and Azerbaijan’s threats to forcibly prevent them.

They also expressed concern at the continuing ceasefire violations in the conflict zone. “They also discussed ideas to strengthen the ceasefire,” added the statement.

The statement made no mention of the mediators’ Basic Principles of a Karabakh settlement that have been discussed by the conflicting parties in the last few years. The Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents came close to agreeing on those principles in June 2011. The peace process has been essentially deadlocked since then.

The mediators’ previous talks with Nalbandian and Mammadyarov took place in Paris in late January. They apparently focused on the Karabakh flight controversy.
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