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Armenian, Azeri FMs Meet In Germany


Russia -- Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian (R) and his counterpart from Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov look on after shaking hands during a session of the Council of Foreign Minister of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), in Moscow, Apr

The Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers met in Hamburg late on Thursday for fresh talks on Nagorno-Karabakh mediated by the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry gave no details in a short statement on the talks held on the sidelines of an OSCE ministerial conference.

According to Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry, Elmar Mammadyarov, Edward Nalbandian and the three mediators discussed “the continuation of the negotiation process next year and other issues on the agenda.”

Neither side reported any concrete agreements. It thus remained unclear whether the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan could meet anytime soon.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault called for an Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in a joint statement issued in Hamburg earlier on Thursday. They said Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev should also honor confidence-building agreements reached by them at their last two meetings.

Those agreements are meant to bolster the ceasefire regime in the Karabakh conflict zone though international investigations of its violations and deployment of more OSCE monitors there.

Nalbandian lashed out at Azerbaijan when he addressed the OSCE forum. He accused Baku of sticking to a “maximalist and uncompromising stance” and rejecting the agreed safeguards against truce violations.

“When Azerbaijan stubbornly refuses to implement the agreements reached in Vienna and St. Petersburg or elsewhere before, it undermines not just those agreements; it damages the peace process as a whole,” charged Nalbandian. He said the mediators should therefore press Baku harder to honor the agreements.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hikmet Hajiyev, blamed Armenia for the impasse when he commented on the joint statement by Kerry, Levrov and Ayrault on Friday. He claimed that Yerevan is avoiding “substantive negotiations” on a Karabakh settlement.

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