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Mediators Confirm More Progress In Armenian-Azeri Talks


Russia - Presidents of Armenia an Azerbaijan Serzh Sarkisian (R) and Ilham Aliyev meet in St. Petersburg, 04Jun2009

The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan overcame some of their remaining disagreements over the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, international mediators said on Friday, echoing statements made by the conflicting parties.

Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliev met in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg on Thursday for talks brokered by their Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev. Their foreign ministers said afterwards that the two men made further progress towards the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict even if they did not achieve a breakthrough.

“The conversation took place in a constructive atmosphere and resulted in positive steps that narrowed the differences between the two countries on a number of the Basic Principles of the settlement,” the U.S., Russian and French mediators co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group said in a joint statement.

“Because of these positive developments in their discussion, both Presidents asked the mediators to continue their shuttle diplomacy and to open a new and major subject outlined by the Madrid Document which, according to their views, still remains the basis of the negotiation,” they said. “In addition, the two Presidents agreed on the mediators' proposal for the Presidents to continue their meetings in the nearest future, if possible in July."

Speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian service last week, the chief U.S. Karabakh negotiator, Matthew Bryza, said Aliev and Sarkisian are unlikely iron out all of their disagreements on “a handful of remaining principles” in Saint-Petersburg and will therefore need to hold more talks “relatively quickly.” “Based on their conversation in Prague, I do believe that a breakthrough can happen at Saint-Petersburg and/or shortly thereafter,” Bryza said.
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