YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—International mediators held talks in Yerevan on Thursday at the start of a fresh tour of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone aimed at preparing a meeting of Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s presidents expected next week.
In a statement issued on their arrival in Yerevan, the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group said they will also visit Stepanakert and Baku to discuss “the key remaining unresolved issues” in their basic principles of a Karabakh settlement.
The diplomats began their latest round of shuttle diplomacy with separate meetings with President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian. Official Armenian sources reported no details of the talks. The presidential press service said only that they discussed preparations for Sarkisian’s “possible meeting” with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on the sidelines of the October 8 summit of former Soviet republics in Chisinau, Moldova.
The mediators hope that the two leaders will overcome their differences over the proposed basic principles. The troika made unpublicized changes in those proposals in July in the hope of facilitating the signing of an Armenian-Azerbaijani framework agreement.
“The Co-Chairs would also like to reiterate the points made separately by each of our governments that the Minsk Group negotiations are a separate process that should move forward along its own rationale, without preconditions, without any linkages, within a reasonable timeframe, and without imposed acceleration or delay,” announced the co-chairs.