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Mediators Meet Armenian, Azeri FMs


Russia -- Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov (R) and his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian attend a session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Moscow, Russia, April 8, 2016

Russia -- Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov (R) and his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian attend a session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Moscow, Russia, April 8, 2016

The Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers have traded accusations during their latest separate talks with U.S., Russian and French diplomats spearheading international efforts to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group met with Edward Nalbandian and Elmar Mammadyarov in New York on the sidelines of the latest session of the UN General Assembly to discuss further steps in the peace process.

“We look forward to progress on key issues,” James Warlick, the U.S. mediator, wrote on his Twitter page on Thursday. He did not elaborate.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry said Nalbandian and the three mediators discussed on Tuesday implementation of confidence-building measures that were agreed by the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents at their last two meetings held in May and June.

A ministry statement said Nalbandian accused Azerbaijan of refusing to honor those agreements aimed at preventing ceasefire violations around Karabakh and along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. Baku is thus preventing “appropriate conditions” for progress towards a peaceful settlement, the Armenian minister said, according to the statement.

For his part, Mammadyarov reportedly accused the Armenian side of seeking to “disrupt the negotiation process” through “provocations” when he met Warlick, Russia’s Igor Popov and France’s Pierre Andrieu on Wednesday. The APA news agency cited him as complaining about Armenian military exercises which he said are being held near Karabakh.

Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev agreed to allow the OSCE to deploy more truce observers in the conflict zone and investigate armed incidents there at their May meeting held in Vienna. The meeting chaired by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov came more than a month after an outbreak of the heaviest fighting around Karabakh since 1994.

Aliyev and Sarkisian signaled further progress after holding follow-up talks hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Saint Petersburg in June. French President Francois Hollande afterwards offered to organize another Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in Paris, stoking speculation that the two sides might be close to a breakthrough. However, there have been no indications yet that such a meeting is imminent.

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