April 5, 2014 - 12:11 AMT
OSCE Minsk Group readying meeting of Armenian, Azeri leaders

The OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs Igor Popov, Jacques Faure, James Warlick, and Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk met with Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and his Azeri counterpart Elmar Mammedyarov in Moscow.

The parties focused on preparation for an oncoming meeting of the Armenian and Russian Presidents.

According to the statement issued after the meeting, the mediators urged the Foreign Ministers to reassert their adherence to the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. As the statement noted, the parties accepted the importance of a progress in peace talks, with the co-chairs stressing the significance of taking concrete steps to decrease tensions and promote settlement.

Previous meeting of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs Igor and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Personal Representative with Nalbandian took place March 11 in Moscow.

The meeting focused on further steps for the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, with the Co-chairs briefing Nalbandian on the results of the Paris meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov.

As Warlick said in his Tweeter post upon completion of the meeting, “talks with FM Nalbandian in Moscow confirm that Armenia seeks a peaceful settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh. Will pursue options for dialogue.”

Mammadyarov met with OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs in Paris, Foreign Ministry spokesman on March 10, Elman Abdullayev said.

The meeting was attended by the OSCE MG Co-chairs and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Personal Representative. At the meeting, the parties expressed concern over the non-settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

According to Abdullayev, Mammadyarov reaffirmed Azerbaijan’s willingness to sign a comprehensive peace agreement in case Armenian troops are withdrawn from Karabakh-adjacent territories.

In an interview with APA, Russian Co-chair Igor Popov pointed out positive aspects in the conflict settlement talks. However, he said, approximation of positions remains a hard task.

"After a long break, another meeting of the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia was held in Vienna on November 19, 2013. They discussed a range of issues on the settlement of Karabakh problem. The two sides decided to accelerate the process of negotiations. The main directions that require special attention were determined.

Ministers of Foreign Affairs were given relevant instructions, consultations were carried out on the basis of the instructions. Elmar Mammadyarov and Edward Nalbandian met twice. The most contentious issues were discussed in details at these meetings. The negotiations show that there are positive aspects. However, it is not so easy to bring closer the positions of the parties.

Difficulties in the negotiation process correspond to the complexity of the conflict. The parties intend to move forward. We are currently conducting consultations with our French and American colleagues, ministers separately.

We met with Nalbandian on February 22. We plan to meet Mammadyarov in the near future. If we achieve options that will satisfy the parties, joint meetings will be accessible, first at the ministerial level, and then the issue of summit will be considered, as agreed by the presidents in Vienna. We will continue our consultations in the region," Popov said.

Photo: James Warlick's Twitter Page