YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — President Serzh Sarkisian has briefed a visiting senior U.S. State Department official on his latest meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev held in Saint Petersburg, Russia last week.
Bridget Brink, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, met with Sarkisian as well as Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian on Monday following her talks in Baku with Aliyev.
Sarkisian’s office said Brink asked the Armenian president to present the “results” of the Saint Petersburg summit and his views on “prospects for possible progress” in international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“The president of the republic presented in detail the latest developments in the negotiating process to the guest,” the office said in a statement. It did not elaborate.
A separate statement by the Armenian Foreign Ministry said Nalbandian and Brink agreed on the need to implement confidence-building agreements that were reached at Saint-Petersburg on June 20 and at the previous Aliyev-Sarkisian encounter held in Vienna on May 16.
Brink met with Aliyev in Baku on June 23. The Azerbaijani presidential press service did not mention the Karabakh conflict in a statement on that meeting.
Aliyev and Sarkisian reaffirmed their earlier pledges to prevent truce violations in the conflict zone at the June 20 summit hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a joint statement with Putin, they also said they reached an “understanding” on unspecified issues hampering a Karabakh settlement.
The U.S. diplomat James Warlick and the two other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group representing Russia and France were present at the final session of the Saint Petersburg summit. Warlick hailed afterwards “positive steps” steps taken during the talks.
Sarkisian’s office quoted Brink as saying that the main purpose of her trip to Yerevan is to discuss and promote closer commercial ties between the United States and Armenia. It said she discussed with other Armenian officials preparations for the next session of the U.S.-Armenia Task Force (USATF).
The USATF has coordinated U.S. economic assistance provided to Armenia over the past decade. It also deals with problems hampering bilateral trade and U.S. investments in the Armenian economy.
Brink presided over the last USATF session held in Yerevan last November.
Earlier in November, another intergovernmental body, the U.S.-Armenia Council on Trade and Investment, held its inaugural session in the Armenian capital. The council was set up shortly after the U.S. and Armenian governments signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in Washington in May 215. The TIFA is tasked with addressing obstacles to bilateral commerce.