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Mediators Hope For Another Armenian-Azeri Summit


Armenia - The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group -- James Warlick (L), Igor Popov (C) and Pierre Andrieu -- at a news conference in Yerevan, 9Apr2016.

Armenia - The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group -- James Warlick (L), Igor Popov (C) and Pierre Andrieu -- at a news conference in Yerevan, 9Apr2016.

The United States, Russia and France are ready to host yet another meeting of Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s presidents, diplomats from the three nations jointly trying to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict said late on Thursday.

The U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group gave no possible dates for such a summit after holding separate talks with the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York.

“During the meetings, we paid special attention to implementation of decisions taken at the recent summits in Vienna (May 2016) and St. Petersburg (June 2016),” they said in a joint statement. “In particular, we discussed further steps that could create an atmosphere for advancing substantial negotiations that could lead to a settlement.”

“We also exchanged views on proposals that could be discussed between the sides,” read the statement.

The three mediating powers said after the Vienna meeting that Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev agreed on concrete measures to strengthen the shaky ceasefire regime in the conflict zone. Those include international investigations of truce violations there.

Aliyev and Sarkisian signaled progress towards a compromise settlement after their follow-up meeting in Saint Petersburg hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin. France’s President Francois Hollande offered to organize another Sarkisian-Aliyev encounter shortly afterwards. It is still not clear, however, whether the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders plan to meet again anytime soon.

“Our governments are prepared to host another meeting of the Presidents or Foreign Ministers at the appropriate time,” the Minsk Group co-chairs said on Thursday. “We plan to visit the region in the near future.”

Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov traded accusations of obstruction of the peace process at their separate talks with the mediators held earlier this week.

In particular, Nalbandian said that Baku is refusing to honor the confidence-building understandings reached at Vienna and Saint Petersburg. He repeated the claim at a meeting with the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, in New York on Thursday.

Mogherini also had a separate meeting there with Mammadyarov. The Azerbaijani minister was reported to denounce Armenia’s “destructive and provocative policy.”

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