Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian spoke of a new window of opportunity for resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on Tuesday ahead of fresh talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov.
Nalbandian and Mammadyarov will meet in Kiev on Wednesday in an effort to build on progress which the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan appear to have made at their most recent negotiations held in Vienna late last month.
In a joint statement issued in the Austrian capital, the U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group said Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev instructed their foreign ministers to “build on the work to date with the aim of intensifying the peace process.” Sarkisian afterwards described the Armenian-Azerbaijani summit as “positive,” saying he felt that Aliyev “has a desire to solve the problem.” Aliyev also gave a cautiously positive assessment of the Vienna talks through a senior aide.
Nalbandian likewise called them “constructive.” “We will try to push forward the negotiation process as much as possible,” he said of his planned meeting with Mammadyarov.
“Of course, the parties’ readiness for a settlement is very important. But also important is their realistic approach on how the conflict can be resolved,” Nalbandian told a joint news conference with Iraq’s visiting Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.
The Minsk Group co-chairs are due to again visit Baku and Yerevan later in December. Sarkisian suggested in televised remarks on November 22 that they will succeed in preparing for another Armenian-Azerbaijani summit “in the near future.”
Aliyev and Sarkisian had not met for nearly two years, reflecting a deadlock in the Karabakh peace process. Nalbandian claimed on Tuesday that their latest summit was originally scheduled for June but was cancelled by Baku at the last minute.