The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet in Geneva on Monday for fresh negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, official Yerevan and Baku said on Friday.
The announcements by President Serzh Sarkisian’s office and the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry came one week after the U.S., Russian and French mediators’ latest trip to the region.
In an October 7 statement, the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group said Sarkisian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev “confirmed their readiness to reengage in negotiations with the purpose of reaching a peaceful settlement to the conflict.” The mediators have for months pressed for the Aliyev-Sarkisian meeting in hopes of breaking the continuing deadlock in the Karabakh peace process.
The two presidents most recently met in May and June 2016 shortly after four-day deadly hostilities around Karabakh that nearly denigrated into an all-out war. They agreed to allow the OSCE to deploy more field observers in the conflict zone and investigate truce violations occurring there. They also hinted at progress towards a peaceful settlement.
The peace process again stalled in the following months, however. The Azerbaijani government has since been reluctant to implement the agreed safeguards against renewed fighting, saying that they would cement the status quo.
Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian sounded pessimistic about prospects for a Karabakh settlement when he spoke to reporters in Yerevan on Thursday. He said decisive progress towards an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace accord will be “impossible” as long as Baku refuses to bolster the ceasefire regime.