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Karabakh Mediators Meet Russian FM


Switzerland - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov before a bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (not pictured) in Geneva, Switzerland August 26, 2016

Switzerland - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov before a bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (not pictured) in Geneva, Switzerland August 26, 2016

The U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-heading the OSCE Minsk Group met with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Thursday to discuss further steps in international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

A statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry said they spoke about the implementation of agreements reached by the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents at their face-to-face talks held in Vienna and Saint Petersburg in May and June respectively. It gave no other details.

Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev met in the wake of the worst fighting in the Karabakh conflict since 1994 which was stopped by Russia. At Vienna, the two men agreed to concrete safeguards against renewed truce violations proposed by the U.S., Russian and French mediators.

Aliyev and Sarkisian reported progress towards a peaceful settlement after their June talks in Saint Petersburg hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Lavrov said afterwards that the conflicting parties are close to a breakthrough, while French President Francois Hollande offered to host another Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in Paris in the following weeks.

Neither the parties nor the mediators have since reported any preparations for another Aliyev-Sarkisian encounter, however, suggesting that the peace process may have again stalled. Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian said last week that further progress in the process is contingent on Azerbaijan’s compliance with the agreed measures to prevent ceasefire violations.

Those include international investigations of armed incidents along “the line of contact” around Karabakh and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. Aliyev spoke out against this mechanism shortly after the Saint Petersburg summit.

James Warlick, the Minsk Group’s U.S. co-chair, said last week that the mediating troika plans to meet with the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers later this month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

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