By Armen Dulian
The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan dismissed on Monday reports that they may meet on the sidelines of the upcoming G8 summit in Russia in yet another attempt to break the Nagorno-Karabakh deadlock.
“Such a meeting is not planned,” Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev said in an interview with the Turkish newspaper “Cumhurriyet.” “We have met twice in the last several months and those meetings did not yield any results.”
“Robert Kocharian’s July 17 agenda does not include such a meeting,” the Armenian president’s press secretary, Victor Soghomonian, told RFE/RL.
Azerbaijan’s deputy foreign minister, Araz Azimov, said late last month Aliev and his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharian could be invited to join the leaders of the world’s eight largest industrialized nations in Saint Petersburg on July 17 and try salvage the Karabakh peace process. International mediators said they would only welcome such a meeting.
In a statement issued on July 3, the French, Russian and U.S. co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group renewed their calls for Aliev and Kocharian to display the necessary “political will” and sign up to their proposed framework agreement to end the Karabakh conflict. They said they are ready to “assist the parties to conclude an agreement if the Presidents indicate they are prepared to do so.”
The Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders clearly see no need for another face-to-face encounter, however.