BRUSSELS (RFE/RL) — Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov met for the first time late on Wednesday to discuss ways of reviving the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.

The four-hour talks in Brussels began in the presence of the U.S., Russian and French mediators co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group.

“The meeting had an introductory character and was intended for familiarizing with each other’s views,” the Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement released the following morning.

It said Mnatsakanian stressed the importance of respecting the ceasefire regime in the Karabakh conflict zone, creating an “atmosphere conducive to peace” and avoiding “aggressive rhetoric.”

“The co-chairs briefed the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers on their upcoming plans. Further steps were discussed,” the statement added without elaborating.

According to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, Mammadyarov and Mnatsakanian discussed the stalled peace process “in detail.” The APA news agency quoted a ministry spokesman, Hikmet Hajiyev, saying that the sides agreed on the need to “continue negotiations in the existing format.” The ministers also “exchanged views on steps taken for the purpose of advancing the peace process,” he said.

The mediators reported, for their part, that the two ministers considered “a range of possible confidence-building measures” at their first meeting. “The Co-Chairs ‎stressed the importance of reducing tensions and avoiding inflammatory rhetoric,” they said in a joint statement issued on Thursday.

“The Ministers agreed to meet again in the near future under the auspices of the Co-Chairs,” added the statement.

 

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