James Warlick, the U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, met with Nagorno-Karabakh’s leaders in Stepanakert on Friday, ending a regional tour which Washington hopes will help to revive Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks.
Warlick also joined OSCE field representatives in monitoring the ceasefire regime on the volatile “line of contact” east of the disputed territory. No shooting incidents were reported during the routine procedure.
“I appreciate very much the opportunity to see beautiful Nagorno-Karabakh,” Warlick told reporters after talks with Bako Sahakian, the president of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
Few details of those talks were made public. Sahakian’s office said in a statement that the two men agreed on the need for a peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict. Sahakian was reported to complain about Azerbaijan’s “unconstructive position” in the negotiating process and say that it poses a “growing threat to peace and stability in the region.”
Warlick, who was appointed as U.S. co-chair last month, stressed that he has toured Azerbaijan, Armenia and Karabakh on an “orientation visit.” “I’m here to listen and learn,” he said. “With everyone I meet on this visit I want to look ahead and find a realistic path towards a durable settlement.”
Warlick arrived in Baku and Yerevan with U.S. President Barack Obama’s letters to his Azerbaijani and Armenian counterparts implicitly urging them to hold face-to-face talks. “With the outlines of the compromise already well established, now is the time for a renewed effort to bring peace to the region,” Obama wrote.