ALMATY, Kazakhstan (RFE/RL) — The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan appear to have failed to make any progress during two days of fresh negotiations in Kazakhstan which international mediators hoped would bring them closer to the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict.
Eduard Nalbandian and Elmar Mammadyarov began the talks late Friday on the margins of an informal Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) ministerial meeting in the Kazakh city of Almaty. They met again on Saturday in the presence of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg.
In a joint statement issued afterwards, Lavrov, Kouchner and Steinberg said that “the efforts made so far by the parties to the conflict have not been sufficient to overcome their differences.” They urged the parties to take “additional actions” to strengthen the ceasefire around Karabagh and “create a more favorable atmosphere for further political dialogue and reaching agreements.”
The top diplomats from the three mediating powers also deplored the recent upsurge in ceasefire violations and bitter recriminations traded by Yerevan and Baku. The latter has repeatedly threatened to solve the conflict by force in recent weeks.
“They warned that the use of force created the current situation, and its use again would only lead to suffering, devastation, and a legacy of conflict and hostility that would last for generations,” read the statement. “They urged a greater spirit of compromise to reach agreement on a common basis for continuing the negotiations.”
Mammadyarov was reported to say that the parties and the mediators hoped to make “another step forward” during the talks. “Unfortunately, that issue was not solved, and it can’t be said that there was any breakthrough,” the APA news agency quoted him as saying. “We decided to continue working with the co-chairs.”