Karabakh Talks End Without Any Change

PRAGUE (RFE/RL)–The three-day talks near the Czech capital Prague over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh ended on Wednesday without an apparent breakthrough.

International mediators and senior Armenian and Azerbaijani officials said in a brief statement that they had "useful discussions" at Stirin Castle on ways of settling the Karabakh conflict.

The statement said Deputy Foreign Ministers Tatul Markarian of Armenia and Araz Azimov of Azerbaijan will report to their respective presidents on the results of the closed-door talks. The date and venue of another round of talks will be announced at a later date–it added.

Details of the meeting mediated by the French–Russian and U.S. co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group are not known–with none of its participants agreeing to comment. Markarian said they decided to avoid any contacts with the media.

It was the first gathering held under a new format of peace talks agreed by the mediators during their most recent tour of Armenia–Azerbaijan and Karabakh in March. Markarian and Azimov were named "personal representatives" of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents shortly afterwards.

Nikolay Gribkov–Russia’s chief Karabakh negotiator–told RFE/RL on Monday that the start of the negotiations was "encouraging." However–the wording of their concluding statement suggested that no major headway has been made.

There was also no word about the date of the co-chairs’ next regional trip and the possibility of further direct talks between Presidents Heydar Aliev and Robert Kocharian.

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