STEPANAKERT, Artsakh Republic (RFE/RL) – The new U.S. Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, Andrew Schofer, visited Nagorno-Karabakh on October 4, to discuss with the region’s leadership prospects for the resolution of the conflict with Azerbaijan.
Schofer held separate talks with Bako Sahakian, the Karabakh president, and the commander of Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army, Levon Mnatsakanian, in Stepanakert. Both men briefed him on the current situation along the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Karabakh.
Sahakian’s press office said the meeting with Schofer also touched upon international efforts to broker a peaceful solution to the dispute and “regional processes.” The U.S. mediator reportedly described the meeting as “productive” when he spoke to local journalists afterwards.
Schofer is due to be joined in Yerevan later this week by the two other Minsk Group co-chairs representing Russia and France. The mediators will meet with President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian before proceeding to Baku for similar talks with Azerbaijan’s leadership.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said on Wednesday that they will specifically discuss in Yerevan and Baku the “agenda” of the upcoming meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents.
The co-chairs already met with Nalbandian and Mammadyarov in New York late last month. In an ensuing joint statement, they expressed hope that the upcoming Armenian-Azerbaijani summit will help the conflicting parties eventually “find compromise solutions to the remaining key settlement issues.”
“The Ministers expressed their commitment to work with the Co-Chairs to prepare for a successful summit in the near future,” added the statement. It did not specify possible dates for the summit.