U.S., Russian and French mediators continued to press for renewed face-to-face negotiations between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan during a fresh meeting of the two countries’ foreign ministers held in Brussels late on Tuesday.
Foreign Ministers Edward Nalbandian and Elmar Mammadyarov met in the presence of the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group for further discussions on how to kick-start the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.
“The Co-Chairs asked the Ministers to convey to the Presidents their proposal to organize a summit in the course of this year,” the Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. It said Nalbandian and Mammadyarov agreed to meet again in September in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
The mediators said after visiting Baku, Yerevan and Stepanakert last month that Aliyev and Sarkisian “expressed their intention to resume political dialogue in an attempt to find a compromise solution for the most controversial issues of the settlement.”
Official Azerbaijani sources made no public statements immediately after the Brussels meeting which followed the latest upsurge of ceasefire violations along the Karabakh “line of contact.” The mediating troika urged the warring sides to “cease military action” last week.
According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry statement, Nalbandian stressed at Tuesday’s meeting the importance of “stabilizing the situation on the Line of Contact.” He also insisted on the unconditional implementation of confidence-building agreements that were reached by Aliyev and Sarkisian last year.
The two leaders specifically agreed to allow the OSCE to deploy more field observers in the conflict zone and investigate truce violations occurring there. The Azerbaijani government has since been reluctant to implement these safeguards, however, saying that they would cement the status quo in the absence of progress in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks.
Nalbandian lambasted Azerbaijan at an informal meeting of foreign ministers of OSCE member states held in Mauerbach, Austria earlier on Tuesday. He said that Baku’s failure to take the confidence-building measures is calling into question is “ability to act as a negotiating party.”
An Azerbaijani diplomat attending the meeting denounced Nalbandian’s remarks as “extremely provocative” and claimed that Yerevan is keen to “perpetuate the current status quo” in Karabakh.
While in Mauerbach, Nalbandian also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The Armenian Foreign Ministry said the two men discussed the Karabakh dispute and agreed on the need to implement the 2016 agreements.