US Mediator Says Karabakh Talks Have Entered ‘New Phase’

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–A U.S. mediator says that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has entered a “new phase” after Armenian officials and fellow mediators from France and Russia discussed the issue in Yerevan.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service in an exclusive interview that “we need to capitalize” on the progress being made because there is “quite a bit of momentum” as discussions move to Stepanakert, the capital of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, and Baku in the next week.

Bryza, who is the U.S. co-chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group attempting to mediate a solution to the conflict, said Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev plan to meet on the sidelines of a May 7 European Union summit in Prague.

Bryza also said that the presidents of France, Russia and the United States may meet soon to discuss a resolution to the conflict, adding that such a high-level meeting would help move the negotiations forward and, at the very least, lead to a framework agreement between the two hostile states, the Trend news agency reported.

Aliyev said in Russia on April 17 that he hopes the Karabakh conflict will be settled “rather quickly,” and added that “questions that previously seemed hard to solve have been agreed” upon.

The Deputy US Secretary of State has been engaged in shuttle diplomacy between Armenia and Azerbaijan for the past few weeks in an effort to gain an Armenian-Azerbaijani framework agreement.


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