A fresh meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents is still not on the cards despite international mediators’ efforts to reinvigorate the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian indicated on Tuesday.
“Armenia has never objected to meetings at the level of [foreign] ministers or presidents,” he said. “If conditions are ripe, such meetings are possible. But this kind of meetings, especially at the high, presidential level, have to be properly prepared for. Ministerial meetings are aimed at ensuring that as well.”
“For the time being, we can only talk about a meeting at the ministerial level,” Nalbandian told a joint news conference with Lamberto Zannier, the visiting secretary general of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev most recently met in Saint Petersburg last July for talks hosted by their Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The Karabakh peace process has remained essentially deadlocked since then.
Richard Hoagland, the U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, expressed hope in March that Nalbandian and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov will “prepare the ground” for a fresh Aliyev-Sarkisian encounter. The two ministers met in Moscow in late April. A Russian Foreign Ministry statement on their talks said nothing about the possibility of an Armenian-Azerbaijani summit.
Nalbandian also announced on Tuesday that Hoagland and his fellow Minsk Group co-chairs from Russia and France will visit Yerevan and Stepanakert next week.