Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev spoke on Wednesday of a new opportunity to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh, pointing to his most recent meeting with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian.
“My last meeting with the president of Armenia was more optimistic than the previous one,” Azerbaijani news agencies quoted Aliyev as saying during a visit to the NATO headquarters in Brussels. “Nevertheless, we still have doubts as to whether the Armenian side is sincere in the negotiation process or simply wants to maintain the status quo.”
Aliyev and Sarkisian met in Vienna on November 18 for the first time in almost two years. The two leaders announced no breakthrough but pledged to hold more face-to-face talks in early 2014. Sarkisian and senior aides to Aliyev gave afterwards unusually positive assessments of the Vienna meeting.
The Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers held follow-up talks in Kiev in early December. They as well as the U.S., Russian and French mediators are due to meet again later this month.
Aliyev said the ministerial encounter will show whether further progress can be made in the coming months. “We will see to what extent Armenia is sincere in this process,” he said. “We hope that if a realistic evaluation of the situation prevails in Armenia a solution will be found very soon.”
Armenian leaders have blamed Baku for recent years’ deadlock in the Karabakh peace process.