The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in New York late on Tuesday in preparation for fresh face-to-face talks between their presidents that are due to be hosted by France next month.
The press offices of Edward Nalbandian and Elmar Mammadyarov gave no concrete dates for the upcoming Armenian-Azerbaijani summit, saying only that it will take place in Paris. Nor did they give other details of the foreign ministers’ meeting held in the presence of the U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group.
The co-chairs issued no joint statements after the New York talks. James Warlick, the U.S. co-chair, tweeted only that Nalbandian and Mammadyarov met “to prepare for a Presidential summit in October.”
Warlick visited Yerevan last week for talks with Nalbandian and President Serzh Sarkisian which he portrayed as a follow-up to the most recent Armenian-Azerbaijani summit held on September 4. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry organized it on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Wales. Kerry urged the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to “strictly respect the ceasefire” and “enter into a more formal negotiation process.”
Sarkisian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev also held separate talks in Wales with French President Francois Hollande. The latter offered to host an Aliyev-Sarkisian encounter in France when he visited Baku and Yerevan in May. The U.S., Russian and French mediators had being pressing for such a summit in hopes of reviving the Karabakh peace process.
Aliyev and Sarkisian met in Sochi, Russia on August 10 only after a sharp escalation of deadly fighting along “the line of contact” around Karabakh and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. Ceasefire violations there have decreased significantly since those talks mediated by Russian President Vladimir Putin.