YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet in Switzerland’s capital Bern on Saturday for talks which international mediators hope will ease tensions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, official Yerevan said on Thursday.
President Serzh Sarkisian’s office announced the date and venue of his meeting with Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev in a short statement. It indicated that the U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-heading the OSCE Minsk Group will also be present at the Armenian-Azerbaijani summit.
The announcement was not immediately confirmed by Aliyev’s office or the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.
The mediators have for months pressed for the summit amid growing ceasefire violations along heavily militarized “line of contact” around Karabakh and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. In a joint December 3 statement, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and France’s European Affairs Secretary Harlem Desir said they look forward to the upcoming Aliyev-Sarkisian meeting. They urged the two sides to “dispel any misperceptions that they are not serious about reaching a negotiated settlement.”
Sarkisian and Aliyev most recently met in Paris in October last year. Both leaders gave positive assessments of those talks.