International mediators ended their fresh tour of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone in Baku on Monday with no indication of any progress towards an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace accord.
The U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group met with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov after similar talks held in Stepanakert and Yerevan late last week. Official Azerbaijani sources reported no details of those meetings.
In an ensuing joint statement on their latest round of shuttle diplomacy, Robert Bradtke, Igor Popov and Jacques Faure said, “The Co-Chairs reviewed with Presidents Sarkisian and Aliyev the results of the separate meetings they held with Foreign Ministers [Edward] Nalbandian and Mammadyarov in August and September, and discussed the ideas on the continuation of the peace process that they had presented to the Ministers in their joint meeting on October 27.”
“The sides agreed to carry out further work on the level of the Foreign Ministers,” added the statement.
Faure told the Azerbaijani APA news agency that the two foreign ministers could meet on the sidelines of an OSCE ministerial conference in Dublin next week or elsewhere “at the beginning of next year.” “The bottom line is that the ministers are ready to continue working on the conflict’s peaceful resolution,” said the French diplomat.
According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, the co-chairs discussed the possibility of a Mammadyarov-Nalbandian meeting in the Irish capital when they met with the Armenian foreign minister in Yerevan on Friday. Popov indicated after that meeting that they will not seek to organize fresh meetings between Aliyev and Sarkisian in the months ahead.
Both Armenia and Azerbaijan are due to hold presidential elections in 2013.