The United States, Russia and France on Thursday urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to keep up the renewed momentum in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process after fresh talks held by the foreign ministers of the two warring nations.
Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov met in Kiev on late Wednesday on the sidelines of a ministerial conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. They discussed ways of building on progress that appears to have been made at a recent Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in Vienna.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, French Minister for European Affairs Thierry Repentin and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland issued a joint statement on the talks in the Ukrainian capital the following day. They said Mammadyarov and Nalbandian “agreed to continue working together on a just and peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of what has been already achieved.”
“The Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed to meet again in early 2014 under the auspices of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs, in order to facilitate further talks at the highest level,” read the statement also signed by Mammadyarov and Nalbandian.
The representatives of the three mediating powers expressed hope that further Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations “will advance the peace process.” They also urged the conflicting parties to “consider measures that would reduce tensions in the region.”
According to a separate statement released by the Armenian Foreign Ministry, U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group on Karabakh will again visit Baku, Yerevan and possibly Stepanakert “soon.” The co-chairs said last month that their next tour of the conflict zone will take place in December.
Presidents Serzh Sarkisian of Azerbaijan and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan met in Vienna on November 19 for their first face-to-face talks in nearly two years. Sarkisian afterwards described them as “positive.” A top Aliyev aide also gave a cautiously positive assessment of the summit.