Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, left, with President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan

Armenia-Azerbaijan Summit Described As ‘Positive,’ ‘Constructive’

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VIENNA (Combined Sources) — Armenia and Azerbaijan have described the latest meeting of their leaders as “positive” and “constructive,” saying they agreed to strengthen the cease-fire regime in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone and continue their dialogue.

“The meeting took place in a positive and constructive atmosphere and provided an opportunity for the two leaders to clarify their respective positions,” the foreign ministers of the two countries said in a joint statement on March 29, hours after Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Vienna.

“They exchanged views about several key issues of the settlement process and ideas of substance,” said the statement, which was also signed by the US, Russian, and French mediators co-heading the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group.

“The two leaders underlined the importance of building up an environment conducive to peace and taking further concrete and tangible steps in the negotiation process to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.”

The statement said Aliyev and Pashinyan “recommitted to strengthening the cease-fire.”

“They also agreed to develop a number of measures in the humanitarian field” and to “continue their direct dialogue.”

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Pashinyan also called the summit “positive.”

“I cannot say that there has been a breakthrough, revolution, or landmark event in the negotiating process,” he later told members of the Armenian community of Austria. “But it is very important that a new process, which allows us to talk about our agendas, ideas and issues, has begun.”

“Obviously each of us strongly believes in his own position, but can we start talking not just about our own positions but also the other side’s positions?” Pashinyan added.

“What is logical in the opposite side’s position and what is not? I find the meeting positive in this sense.”

Pashinyan did not say whether he and Aliyev narrowed their differences over a compromise solution to the Karabakh conflict that has long been advanced by the mediators.

Aliyev was quoted by Russian state-run TASS news agency as saying the talks “were conducted in a constructive atmosphere.”

“The foreign ministers of the two countries have held several rounds of talks. The most important fact is that the current meeting gave another start to the negotiation process,” the Azerbaijani leader said.

The Vienna summit was Pashinyan’s and Aliyev’s fourth face-to-face encounter in six months.

There has been a significant decrease in cease-fire violations around Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in recent months.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group Co-chairs and the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers issued a joint statement on March 30 based on the results of the meeting.

“The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan met today in Vienna for the first time under the auspices of the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stéphane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States of America). The meeting was also attended by Foreign Ministers Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Elmar Mammadyarov. Andrzej Kasprzyk, the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, also participated in the meeting.

“The meeting took place in a positive and constructive atmosphere and provided an opportunity for the two leaders to clarify their respective positions.  They exchanged views about several key issues of the settlement process and ideas of substance.

“The two leaders underlined the importance of building up an environment conducive to peace and taking further concrete and tangible steps in the negotiation process to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.”

Pashinyan held a telephone conversation with President of Russia Vladimir Putin, after the meeting.

(Articles from Armenpress, RFE/RL and Tass were used to compile this

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