YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—President Serzh Sarkisian described as “positive” on Friday his latest meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev, saying that it might have revived the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.
Aliyev and Sarkisian met in Vienna on Tuesday for their first face-to-face talks in almost two years that were welcomed by the United States and the European Union.
“The meeting means, in all likelihood, the start of a new phase of negotiations. We hadn’t met for almost two years, meaning that high-level negotiations had been stopped,” Sarkisian said at a meeting with officials from the Armenian Culture Ministry.
“I could see that the president of Azerbaijan has a desire to solve the problem but that is not enough … On what terms does the Azerbaijani president want to solve the problem and on what terms do I want to solve the problem? This is the key question,” he said.
The Vienna meeting, continued Sarkisian, can be considered “positive” because the two presidents instructed their foreign ministers to meet again early next month, shortly before a fresh tour of the Karabakh conflict zone planned by the U.S., Russian and French mediators. He suggested that they will succeed in preparing for another Armenian-Azerbaijani summit “in the near future.”
Both the U.S. and the EU have likewise said that they are “encouraged” by the latest Aliyev-Sarkisian encounter. The Azerbaijani leader has not publicly commented on it yet.