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Mediators Start Another Tour Of Karabakh Conflict Zone


Armenia -- Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian meets with visiting co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, 11Apr2011.

Armenia -- Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian meets with visiting co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, 11Apr2011.

In an effort to build on progress reportedly made by the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, international mediators began on Monday their second tour of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone in less than a month.


The U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group met with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian in Yerevan at the start of their latest round of shuttle diplomacy. The Armenian Foreign Ministry reported few details of the talks.

The co-chairs are scheduled to meet with President Serzh Sarkisian on Tuesday and proceed to Karabakh later in the day. According to Azerbaijani media, they are due in Baku on Wednesday.

In a joint statement issued late last month, the mediators said they will again visit the region to try to build on “the positive momentum” of the most recent Armenian-Azerbaijani summit that was hosted by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Sochi on March 5. They said they will also work out with the conflicting parties “concrete measures to fulfill the commitments made at Sochi regarding investigations … of ceasefire violations.”

Both President Serzh Sarkisian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev spoke of progress in the protracted negotiating process shortly after that summit. Each leader said that the other showed greater flexibility at Sochi.

Nalbandian and Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov reportedly plan to meet later this month.

Armenia -- Armen Rustamian, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.
In a separate development, two Armenian lawmakers threatened to boycott the work of a “subcommittee” on the Karabakh conflict that was revived recently by the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE).

The subcommittee had first been set up following a PACE resolution on the conflict adopted in 2005. Its activities were effectively frozen in the following years.

Mevlut Cavusoglu, the PACE’s Turkish president, has sought to revive the panel, supported by Azerbaijan, over the past year. The PACE’s decision-making Bureau approved Cavusoglu’s initiative in January over strong objections voiced by Armenian members of the Strasbourg-based assembly.

The subcommittee is due to hold its first meeting in Strasbourg this week. Its two Armenian members, Davit Harutiunian and Armen Rustamian, demanded on Monday that a representative of Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian leadership also participate in the panel’s work.

“I personally believe that Armenia must not participate without Karabakh’s participation,” Rustamian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service from Strasbourg. “This is my view and I think the government shares that view.”

Rustamian, who is affiliated with the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation, also reiterated Yerevan’s arguments that the Karabakh peace process is spearhead by the Minsk Group and that Cavusoglu openly supports Azerbaijan.
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