DAVOS (RFE/RL) — Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev met in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday for what they described as “informal” talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
A short statement by Pashinyan’s office said they “exchanged views” on the current state of the Karabakh negotiation process and “further discussions.”
In a separate Facebook post, the Armenian leader said the meeting held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum lasted for about 90 minutes.
Aliyev’s press service issued a virtually identical statement cited by the Trend news agency.
Aliyev and Pashinyan spoke to each other for the first time on the sidelines of a summit of former Soviet republics held in Tajikistan in September. There has been a significant decrease in ceasefire violations around Karabakh and along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border since then.
The two leaders talked again during another ex-Soviet summit that took place in Russia in early December. Aliyev said afterwards that the year 2019 will see a “new impetus” to the Karabakh peace process.
The Russian RIA Novosti news agency quoted Aliyev as saying in Davos earlier on Tuesday that his previous conversations with Pashinyan were “useful.”
For their part, the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers have met for four times in the last six months. The U.S., Russian and French mediators seemed particularly encouraged by the most recent of those meetings which took place in Paris on January 16.
In a joint statement, the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group said Foreign Ministers Zohrab Mnatsakanian and Elmar Mammadyarov “agreed upon the necessity of taking concrete measures to prepare the populations for peace.” They said another Aliyev-Pashinyan encounter could “give a strong impulse to the dynamic of negotiations.”
With virtually no details of the Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations made public so far, it remains unclear whether the two sides have narrowed their differences on how to end the protracted conflict.