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Kerry Meets Armenian, Azeri Presidents


Poland - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian in Warsaw, 8Jul2016.

Poland - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian in Warsaw, 8Jul2016.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held separate talks with the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Warsaw on Friday as part of intensifying international efforts to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Kerry already spoke with Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev by phone on July 1. The U.S. State Department did not immediately release a statement on his follow-up meetings with the two leaders.

Aliyev’s office gave no details of his meeting Kerry held on the sidelines of a NATO summit in the Polish capital. It said only that they “exchanged views on issues of mutual interest.”

For its part, Sarkisian’s press service said the Armenian president discussed with Kerry details of Wednesday’s phone conversation between the U.S. and Russian presidents that focused on the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute.

It said Sarkisian and Kerry also agreed on the need for an “unconditional implementation” of confidence-building agreements reached at the last two Armenian-Azerbaijani summits held in Vienna and Saint Petersburg.

Kerry was present at the Vienna summit held on May 16 more than one month after heavy fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces deployed around Karabakh. Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted the Saint Petersburg meeting of Aliyev and Sarkisian on June 20.

Putin briefed U.S. President Barack Obama on that encounter during their phone call. The two men reportedly agreed to step up joint efforts to prevent another escalation of the conflict and achieve its comprehensive resolution.

Sarkisian on Friday again praised the U.S. peace efforts. He said Kerry deserves credit for his agreements reached with Aliyev not only in Vienna but also Saint Petersburg.

In a joint statement with Putin issued after the June 20 meeting, Aliyev and Sarkisian again pledged to bolster the shaky ceasefire regime in the conflict zone. They also said that they reached an “understanding” on unspecified issues hampering a Karabakh settlement.

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