Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said on Thursday that he may meet his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov in Germany next week for further talks on reviving the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.
“I don’t exclude it, but that meeting has not been confirmed yet,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Nalbandian and Mammadyarov will travel to Hamburg to take part in an annual ministerial conference of OSCE member states scheduled for December 8-9. The U.S., Russian and French mediators co-heading the OSCE Minsk Group plan to meet the two men on the sidelines of that gathering. They said on October 26 that they will discuss the possibility of arranging another Armenian-Azerbaijani summit “at the earliest opportunity.”
Azerbaijani news agencies quoted Mammadyarov as saying on Thursday that Yerevan has still not responded to the mediators’ offer to arrange a face-to-face meeting between the two ministers. “They [the Armenians] are running away from the meeting, thereby not helping the peace process,” he claimed at a news conference in Baku.
Mammadyarov and Nalbandian traded accusations when they received Italy’s Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni in Baku and Yerevan last month. Mammadyarov claimed that the Armenian side is keen to preserve the Karabakh status quo. Nalbandian, for his part, pointed to Azerbaijan’s reluctance to take confidence-building measures aimed at minimizing ceasefire violations in the Karabakh conflict zone.
The Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents reportedly agreed on such measures sought by the mediators when they met in Vienna in May shortly after the worst fighting around Karabakh since 1994. Those included international investigations of armed incidents.
The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed last month that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev objected to such investigations at a follow-up meeting with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian held in Saint Petersburg in June.
One of Nalbandian’s deputies, Shavarsh Kocharian, said on November 23 that the negotiation process will remain essentially deadlocked until Baku agrees to the proposed safeguards against truce violations.