WASHINGTON, DC (RFE/RL) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan on Thursday to discuss further steps in international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
President Serzh Sarkisian’s office said he spoke with Kerry about the implementation of confidence-building agreements that were reached at his last two meetings with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. It gave no details.
Aliyev and Kerry also reportedly discussed those agreements in their separate phone call. Azerbaijani news agencies said the two men agreed that the recent Armenian-Azerbaijani summits gave Karabakh peace process “new impetus.”
The U.S. State Department said Kerry asked Presidents Sarkisian and Aliyev to fulfill confidence-building measures and other commitments they made to advance the peace process at a May 16 meeting in Vienna and at a June 20 meeting in St. Petersburg.
Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and French Secretary of State for European Affairs Harlem Desir chaired one of the Aliyev-Sarkisian encounters that was held in Vienna on May 16. In a joint statement issued in the Austrian capital, they said the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents pledged to strengthen the shaky ceasefire regime around Karabakh, including through independent investigations of armed incidents there.
Aliyev and Sarkisian went on to meet in Saint Petersburg, Russia on June 20 for talks hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a joint statement with Putin, they said they reached an “understanding” on unspecified issues hampering a Karabakh settlement.
The Azerbaijani APA news agency quoted James Warlick, the U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, as saying on Thursday that the U.S., Russian and French mediators plan to organize another Armenian-Azerbaijani summit soon.
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov confirmed the possibility of such a meeting. He indicated that its date and venue could be determined after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visits to Yerevan and Baku slated for the beginning of next week.