YEVLAKH — Officials from Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan met on Thursday for first talks envisaged by a Russian-brokered agreement to stop Azerbaijan’s latest military offensive in Karabakh launched on Tuesday.
The delegations are headed by Nagorno-Karabakh lawmaker Davit Melkumyan and Ramin Mammadov, Baku’s point person for talks with Stepanakert.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s office described the talks held in Yevlakh, an Azerbaijani town northeast of Karabakh, as “positive” and “constructive,” saying that they focused on the “reintegration” of Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian population and its “activities within the framework of Azerbaijan’s constitution and laws.”
It said the two sides agreed on the need for quick implementation of the truce agreement reached after more than 24 hours of fighting. More such talks will be held soon, it added in a statement.
The authorities in Stepanakert said, for their part, that the Yevlakh meeting was “businesslike.” “The parties emphasized that all outstanding issues need to be discussed in a peaceful atmosphere, with readiness to continue the meetings,” they said without elaborating.
“There is no concrete agreement yet except that everything must be done in a peaceful environment and the meetings will continue,” Davit Babayan, a Karabakh official, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service from Stepanakert. “There are various thorny issues that could hardly be settled during a single meeting.”
Babayan stressed that the Karabakh government’s main objective now is to “save our people from physical destruction.”
The truce agreement commits the leadership of Karabakh to disbanding and disarming the region’s forces.