Azerbaijani and Armenian FMs fail to agree on Aliyev-Sargsyan meeting

 Azerbaijani and Armenian FMs fail to agree on Aliyev-Sargsyan meeting

The Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia, Elmar Mammadyarov and Edward Nalbandian, which was held in Brussels yesterday in the presence of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, did not agree on holding a meeting of Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan, the official statement posted on the website of the OSCE Minsk Group says.

Mammadyarov, Nalbandyan and the Co-Chairs only agreed to meet again in New York in September on the margins of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly to continue discussing the proposal of the OSCE Minsk Group to organize a meeting of the Presidents in late 2017.

The Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed to pass to their Presidents the co-chairs’ proposal for a high-level meeting later this year. The co-chairs offered their assistance in organizing this meeting.

The current situation on the line of contact was also discussed.

The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group Ambassador Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Ambassador Stephane Visconti of France, and Ambassador Richard Hoagland of the US, as well as the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk also participated in the meeting.

Political scientist Rovshan Ibragimov, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that on the eve of the meeting, no one expected to agree on a new summit of presidents. "Armenia still wants to settle the conflict with the recognition of the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, while Azerbaijan considers the solution of the problem within its territorial integrity. Therefore, it is very difficult to even ensure the need to reduce escalation of the conflict on the front line. Yerevan said that the shelling of the Alkhanli village, as a result of which the woman and her granddaughter were killed, is a message that Armenia is ready to continue military operations, and the war is Armenia's instrument to defend their positions," he pointed out.

At the same time, the meeting of the presidents, despite the current lack of any prospects, would be highly desirable. "Azerbaijan is a supporter of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and peace talks are one of the methods of settlement. Any meetings of the presidents are very important. But we understand that the Armenian side does not want to make a rational compromise. The Minsk group, alas, can only bring both sides to the negotiations table, and after it they believe that its mission has fulfilled," Rovshan Ibragimov underlined.

The political scientist also added that Russia, as a mediator between Azerbaijan and Armenia, could help to make the Karabakh talks more constructive. "Russia has always been active outside the OSCE Minsk Group. Now the intensification of its efforts could be to pressure a side that does not agree with the recognition of international norms and international law, and the effect would be more powerful if the US were included in this work, as well as France," he concluded.

Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Gevorg Mirzayan, in turn, agreed that the skidding of diplomacy in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is due to the diametrically opposed views of the parties on the state of affairs.

"If the Armenian side accepts the status quo and is ready to move in the negotiation process, then Azerbaijan is categorically not happy with the current situation. Baku understands that under the current scenario any negotiation process will not achieve the results that Baku wants, that is, the return of Nagorno-Karabakh under Azerbaijan's control," he said, adding that Baku does not intend to make concessions.

At the same time, the political scientist supported the proposal of the Minsk Group to hold a meeting of the presidents at the end of the year. "The trouble is that at the moment the conflict cannot be resolved diplomatically. The maximum that mediators can do is to de-escalate the situation," Gevorg Mirzayan said.