BAKU, YEREVAN—Merely days after the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a set of provisions to return to peace talks during a summit in Vienna, headed by Secretary of State John Kerry, official Baku is distancing itself from them.
Immediately following the Vienna meeting between President Serzh Sarkisian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev, Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and French State Secretary for European Affairs Harlem Desir issued an announcement specifically saying that the two presidents agreed to give the OSCE a mandate to investigate cease fire violations along the Karabakh-Azerbaijan border, known as the “Line of Contact.”
This would broaden the scope of the Andrzej Kasprzyk, the Permanent Representative of the OSCE Chairman in Office, who is in charge of the monitoring missions to the border.
“The Presidents also agreed to the expansion of the existing Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson in Office,” said the mediators after the Vienna meeting.
On Wednesday, however, Aliyev’s chief foreign policy adviser, Novruz Mammadov, said that Baku continued to oppose any “significant changes in Andrzej Kasprzyk’s mandate.”
“We assumed no commitments on that,” Mammadov said, contradicting the joint Kerry-Lavrov-Desir statement.
Desir and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrlault met with Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in Paris on Thursday. According to the French Foreign Ministry, they mainly discussed peace proposals which the three mediators presented to Aliyev and Sarkisian at Vienna. The ministry gave no details, reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
On Thursday, Armenia Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian reaffirmed Armenia’s strong commitment to confidence-building measures that would ensure adherence to the 1994 cease fire agreement and prevent incidents such as last month’s savage attacks on Karabakh, which killed an estimated 100 Karabakh soldiers and civilians.
“The first prerequisite for the success of the negotiation process is the creation of an appropriate environment,” Ohanian told reporters on Thursday.
“First of all, one should refrain from all kinds of ceasefire violations such as gunshots and commando raids,” he said. “There should also be mechanisms for international investigations that would determine which side breaches the ceasefire and criticize it accordingly.”
“We’ll see how the other side acts,” said Ohanian.