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Armenian, Azeri Leaders Meet In Vienna (UPDATED)


Austria -- Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev meet in Vienna, 29Mar2019.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev met in Vienna on Friday for fresh talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Neither leader made public statements immediately after the talks which lasted for more than three hours.According to the TASS news agency, Pashinian said only that the meeting was “normal.”

The meeting held in a hotel in the Austrian capital began in the presence of the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers as well as the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. Aliyev and Pashinian then spoke one on one for roughly two hours before being again joined by the ministers and the mediators.

Stephane Visconti, the Minsk Group’s French co-chair, described the summit as “positive,” saying that the two sides got a better idea of each other’s position. “We hope that a new meeting will be held soon,” Visconti told reporters.

Pashinian was expected to comment on the summit later in the day at a meeting with members of the Armenian community of Austria.

Aliyev and Pashinian previously met on January 22 on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. They also talked during the summits of former Soviet republics held in September and December.

Their foreign ministers similarly held a series of lengthy negotiations, fuelling more speculation about major progress towards a resolution of the Karabakh conflict. They also met in Vienna late on Thursday.

Pashinian sought to lower expectations from the Vienna talks when he spoke in the Armenian parliament earlier this week. He also made clear that he will continue to insist on Karabakh’s direct involvement in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks.

Aliyev and other Azerbaijani leaders have repeatedly rejected the Armenian leader’s calls for the Karabakh Armenians to become a third negotiating party.

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