VIENNA — Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian began a meeting in Vienna on May 16 to discuss a possible settlement over Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Russian media reports said their face-to-face talks were being mediated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who co-chairs the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
This is the first encounter between Aliyev and Sarkisian since a truce in early April halted four days of fierce fighting in and around Nagorno-Karabakh between Karabakh Armenian forces and Azerbaijan’s military.
The mediators are urging Armenia and Azerbaijan to recommit to a 1994 cease-fire, take steps to build confidence and resume stalled peace talks that have dragged on for two decades without visible result.
Among the measures they are recommening are an increase in monitors along the cease-fire line and the possible placement of cameras there to observe and document violations, officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly preview the Vienna meeting.
“The escalation following the blatant violation of the ceasefire regime in the region of Nagorno Karabakh conflict in early April, as well as the ways to overcome that, have been discussed”, according to the press office of the Armenian President.
“The representatives of the Co-Chair countries insisted that the ceasefire agreement of the 1994 and the agreement on strengthening of the ceasefire regime of 1995 shall be implemented without delay. Agreement has been reached to undertake steps for monitoring compliance with the documents in question, establishing incident investigation mechanisms, adding the capacities of the team of OSCE CiO Personal Representative, as well as on possible resumption of peace process,” the official press statement reads.
Earlier on May 16, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini met with Aliyev and Sarkisian to discuss how to shore up the shakey cease-fire
Kerry and Lavrov also met separately in Vienna on May 16 for talks on the war in Syria, Libya’s crisis, and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Internationally mediated negotiations with the involvement of the Minsk Group have failed since the early 1990s to resolve the conflict.