MOSCOW (RFE/RL) — Armenia accused Azerbaijan of obstructing the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process after the foreign ministers of the two states met in Moscow on Friday for fresh talks hosted by their Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.
Lavrov initiated the trilateral meeting in an attempt to get the conflicting parties to narrow their differences on a peace plan drafted by Russia, the United States and France.
In a statement on the meeting, the Russian Foreign Ministry said its participants “stressed the need to fulfill” confidence-building agreements that were reached by Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s president at their last meetings held in Vienna and Saint Petersburg last year.
“The ministers agreed to continue contacts on all discussed issues,” said the statement.
It added that after their trilateral session Lavrov, Edward Nalbandian and Elmar Mammadyarov were joined by the American, Russian and French diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group. It gave no details of the ensuing “exchange of views on the state of affairs in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement.”
The Minsk Group’s U.S. co-chair, Richard Hoagland, expressed hope late last month that Mammadyarov and Nalbandian will “prepare the ground” for a fresh meeting of their presidents. The Russian statement said nothing about the possibility of such a summit.
Nalbandian’s press office released a virtually identical statement on the meeting, while a spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said only that the foreign ministers will brief the presidents on its results.
In separate written comments made later in the day, the Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Tigran Balayan, condemned Baku for a fresh ceasefire violation in Karabakh that left an Armenian soldier dead on Friday morning.
“Baku is again demonstrating that the negotiation process is not important to it,” Balayan told the official Armenpress news agency. “Otherwise, it would not have endangered the process on the day of the foreign ministers’ meeting by blatantly violating the ceasefire again.”
“By resorting to such a provocation at a time when everyone awaits the results of the Moscow meeting, Baku is making it clear that it does not care about those results,” he charged.