Mediators Meet Azeri Leaders, Travel to Karabagh

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BAKU (RFE/RL) — International mediators met with Azerbaijan’s leaders and proceeded to Nagorno- Karabagh on Tuesday during their latest round of shuttle diplomacy coming amid fresh hopes for a breakthrough in the Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiating process.

The US, Russian and French diplomats cochairing the OSCE Minsk Group made no public statements after holding talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.

They entered Karabagh later in the day. Military officials in Stepanakert said they used the occasion to monitor the ceasefire regime at a section of the Armenian- Azerbaijani frontline northeast of the disputed territory.

The mediating troika is scheduled meet with the ethnic Armenian leadership of the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR) on Wednesday. It will end the regional visit in Yerevan on Thursday with talks with President Serge Sargisian and Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian.

The co-chairs’ latest tour of the conflict zone comes less than two weeks after the presidents of the United States, Russia and France urged Sargisian and Aliyev to finalize a framework peace accord on Karabagh at their upcoming meeting. “Further delay would only call into question the commitment of the sides to reach an agreement,” they warned.

Aliyev and Sargisian are expected to meet in Kazan, Russia at the end of this month. The summit will be hosted and mediated by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Mammadyarov said on Monday that he and Nalbandian will hold a trilateral meeting with their Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow on June 11. He said they will prepare for the next Armenian-Azerbaijani summit.

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