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Armenian, Azeri Leaders ‘Not Ready’ For Compromise


U.S. -- US Secretary of State John Kerry during a ministerial meeting at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, September 24, 2016

U.S. -- US Secretary of State John Kerry during a ministerial meeting at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, September 24, 2016

There is no solution in sight to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict because Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders are still not prepared for a compromise peace deal, according to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“There are some frozen conflicts in the world today: Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan-Armenia, where you can’t quite see that [decisive progress] right now because the leaders aren’t ready, because the tensions are there,” he said late on Thursday, speaking during a forum on international security in Washington.

Kerry briefly mentioned the Karabakh issue in the context of U.S. efforts to settle various conflicts around the world. “There are some [conflicts] where I think they’re difficult but you can see how you could get there if people made a certain set of decisions. I believe Israel-Palestine falls into that category,” he said at the forum organized by “The Atlantic” magazine and Aspen Institute.

Kerry became personally involved in joint U.S., Russian and French efforts to end the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute following the outbreak in early April of heavy fighting in and around Karabakh. He and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov mediated the May 16 meeting in Vienna of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents.

The Vienna summit was aimed at de-escalating tensions on the Karabakh frontlines. Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev held follow-up talks in Russia on June 20.

Kerry telephoned Sarkisian and Aliyev later in June amid signs that the conflicting parties may revive the long-running peace process. He reportedly urged them to implement confidence-building measures agreed at Vienna and embark on “substantive talks that can lead to a comprehensive settlement.”

Kerry went on to hold separate meetings with the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Warsaw in early July. No further progress towards a Karabakh settlement has been reported since then.

It is still not clear whether Aliyev and Sarkisian will agree to meet again before the end of this year.

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