Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with a senior U.S. State Department official and other American, French and Russian diplomats during separate talks held in Munich at the weekend.
Nalbandian met with Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European affairs, and the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group on the sidelines of an international security conference held in the German city.
A statement by the Armenian Foreign Ministry gave no details of the meeting with Nuland. It said they discussed not only the Karabakh peace process but also U.S.-Armenian relations. Nalbandian and Nuland praised recent years’ efforts to strengthening U.S.-Armenian “friendly partnership,” according to the statement.
A separate ministry statement on his talks with the Minsk Group co-chairs cited Nalbandian as dismissing Azerbaijan’s latest criticism of the U.S., Russian and French efforts to broker a solution to the Karabakh conflict. “Baku is doing everything to scuttle the negotiation process,” he charged.
Late last month, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev accused the United States, Russia and France of supporting the Armenians by seeking to “freeze” the Karabakh status quo. Aliyev also condemned the three mediating powers for opposing a pro-Azerbaijani draft resolution on Karabakh that was voted down by the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly earlier in January.
“The OSCE Minsk Group is not satisfied with the status quo,” James Warlick, the group’s U.S. co-chair, tweeted on February 5 in an apparent response to Aliyev’s claims. “We are fully committed to negotiations for a peaceful settlement.”
Nalbandian told Warlick, Russia’s Igor Popov and France’s Pierre Andrieu that Baku itself cements the status quo by publicly attacking the mediators and rejecting safeguards against ceasefire violations proposed by them.
Aliyev and his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian failed to revive the peace process when they last met in Switzerland in December. Still, tensions on the Armenian-Azerbaijani on the frontlines decreased after that summit. But they continue to regularly claim lives.
At least four Azerbaijani and two Armenian soldiers have been killed in action since the beginning of January. Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry reported its most recent combat death on Friday. Judging from photographs posted on Azerbaijani news websites, the dead soldier, Elmir Zeynalov, was most probably a sniper.