ST. PETERSBURG (Combined Sources)—The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan narrowed their differences on the existing international plan to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in fresh talks hosted by their Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, the Kremlin said late on Thursday, RFE/RL reported Friday.
Medvedev and Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev met in the Russian city of Saint-Petersburg earlier in the day on the margins of an international economic forum. Following the talks, the three leaders had, what the Kremlin called, a “working dinner.”
A statement by the Russian president’s press service said the talks focused on “pivotal problems” hampering a Karabakh settlement proposed by Russia, the United States and France. “There was observed a convergence of positions on several contentious provisions of the text of the basic principles of the settlement,” it said.
“The presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia confirmed their readiness to continue the dialogue aimed at completing the work on this document under the mediation of Russia, the USA and France,” the statement added without elaboration.
Aliyev’s and Sarkisian’s offices did not report further progress towards Karabakh peace in short press releases on the Saint-Petersburg meeting.
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian called the talks “an important milestone in the Karabakh negotiating process,” but was also vague about their results. “The process continues. This meeting was constructive and very useful,” Nablandian said.
He told journalists that that Aliyev and Sarkisian “took note of what they have achieved as a result of their meetings so far” and instructed their foreign ministers to “continue contacts.”
“Meetings involving President Medvedev enable the parties to bring their positions closer to each other and to further clarify their approaches to those issues that have not been agreed upon, which allows them to continue negotiations and move forward,” Nalbandian said.
The Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents were also due to hold separate consultations on Thursday with the Russian, U.S. and French diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group. According to Nalbandian, the three co-chairs will visit Armenia and Azerbaijan “in early July.”