WASHINGTON—U.S Secretary of State John Kerry held a productive meeting with Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sarkisian at the sidelines of a NATO summit in Wales, U.S co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group James Warlick told Azerbaijan’s Trend newspaper.
“The Secretary had a productive discussion with the presidents to better understand the sides’ positions and encourage the sides to take steps towards peace,” he said.
“The Secretary urged the presidents to respect the ceasefire and de-escalate tensions along the line of contact, and both presidents reaffirmed their commitment to resolving the conflict peacefully,” Warlick said.
He stressed that additionally, the Secretary urged the presidents to enter into a formal negotiation process to make progress on a lasting settlement.
“We have a lot of work to do in the months ahead to advance our mutual goal of bringing peace to the people of the region, and the Secretary’s meeting helped to clarify where to focus our efforts,” he said.
Warlick said that the OSCE Minsk Group expects a trilateral meeting among the presidents of Azerbaijan, Armenia and France to be held in Paris in late October.
“We hope that the presidents will come to Paris ready to hold constructive talks,” he said.
He added that only when the sides demonstrate that they are truly ready for peace will there finally be a resolution to the conflict.
“The OSCE Minsk Group will exhaust all efforts to help the sides reach a lasting settlement through the Minsk Group, but we cannot impose a solution,” Warlick said. “Ultimately, a settlement requires political will on both sides.”
Commenting on the California State Senate Resolution recognizing the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, Warlick said: “State governments and legislatures have the right to issue non-binding statements on foreign affairs, but they do not represent U.S. policy.”