U.S., Russian and French mediators said on Friday that they have presented Armenia and Azerbaijan with concrete proposals aimed at preventing ceasefire violations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.
The three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group also said the presidents of the two South Caucasus states have reaffirmed their readiness meet again later this month.
Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev met in Vienna on May 16 more than one month after the outbreak of the worst fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces since 1994 which threatened to degenerate into an all-out war.
Sarkisian and Aliyev pledged to strengthen the shaky ceasefire regime in Karabakh, including through independent investigations of armed incidents that would be conducted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. During the talks mediated by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and France’s State Secretary for European Affairs Harlem Desir, they also agreed to expand an OSCE mission monitoring the ceasefire.
The Minsk Group co-chairs discussed these safeguards in greater detail during separate talks with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian held on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.
“The Co-Chairs delivered to the Ministers for the consideration of the sides draft documents on expanding the existing office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and establishing an OSCE investigative mechanism,” they said in a joint statement.
“The Ministers confirmed the Presidents’ agreement on the next round of talks to be held in June with an aim to resuming negotiations on a comprehensive settlement,” added the statement released by James Warlick, Igor Popov and Pierre Andrieu.
On his Twitter page, Warlick described as “excellent” the discussion with Nalbandian held in Paris. “We look forward to a Presidents' meeting in June,” the U.S. mediator tweeted after Tuesday’s talks with Mammadyarov.
Armenian officials have indicated that the holding of the next Azerbaijan-Azerbaijani summit is contingent on Azerbaijan’s acceptance of the confidence-building measures proposed by the mediators.
An Armenian Foreign Ministry statement on Nalbandian’s meeting with the mediators said those measures would “create necessary conditions for restarting the negotiation process.”