NEW YORK — The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in New York late on Friday for talks hosted by the U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group.
It was the first face-to-face meeting of the top diplomats of the two warring states since a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement that stopped the Armenian-Azerbaijani war in Nagorno-Karabakh last November.
The three mediators described it as a “sign of the resolve of the two countries to reengage in the peace process through direct dialogue.” They also held separate meetings with Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov on the sidelines of a session of the UN General Assembly.
“The Co-Chairs and Foreign Ministers discussed a wide range of outstanding unresolved issues between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” they said in a joint statement.” “The Co-Chairs proposed specific focused measures to deescalate the situation and possible next steps.”
“The Co-Chairs reaffirm their commitment to continue working with the sides to find comprehensive solutions to all remaining issues related to or resulting from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in accordance with their mandate,” added the statement.
It did not report any concrete understandings reached by Mirzoyan and Bayramov or say whether the co-chairs plan to visit the Karabakh conflict zone soon.
According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Mirzoyan reaffirmed Armenia’s readiness to “resume the Karabakh settlement process” that has long been mediated by the United States, Russia and France.
The talks came the day after Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s again claimed, in an address to the UN General Assembly, that Azerbaijan ended the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with its victory in the six-week war.
A senior Armenia official insisted afterwards that “the conflict remains unresolved” because there is still no agreement on Karabakh’s status, the main bone of contention. The U.S. ambassador to Armenia, Lynne Tracy, has repeatedly made similar statements in recent weeks.
While in New York, both Mirzoyan and Bayramov held talks with Victoria Nuland, the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs. Nuland tweeted on Friday that shed discussed with the Armenian foreign minister the “goal of peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”