German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met with Bako Sahakian, Nagorno-Karabakh’s president, to discuss the Karabakh conflict at the end of his visit to Armenia on Thursday.
Steinmeier arrived in Yerevan on Wednesday on the first leg of a regional tour. With Germany currently holding the rotating presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, his talks with Armenia’s President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian focused on international efforts to resolve the Karabakh conflict.
In a statement on Steinmeier’s visit to Yerevan, the German Foreign Ministry did not mention his meeting with Sahakian.
The Karabakh leader was cited by his office as telling Steinmeier that his unrecognized republic supports the peace efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group co-headed by the United States, Russia and France. But Sahakian also said that the success of the international mediation hinges on a “full-fledged participation” of Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian leadership.
A statement by the office said Sahakian also voiced support for confidence-building measures which the mediators believe would strengthen the ceasefire regime along the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Karabakh. Those include a mechanism of OSCE investigations of truce violations there.
Steinmeier backed these measures at a news conference held after his talks with Nalbandian.He also stressed the importance of progress towards a political resolution of the conflict itself, saying that the status quo is not sustainable.
The German minister proceeded to Baku later on Thursday for talks with Azerbaijan’s leaders in Baku.
Official Baku downplayed his meeting with Sahakian. An Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman said Steinmeier merely met with the leader of “the Armenian community of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region.”