Urged Presidents to Avoid Tensions to Advance the Peace Process
WASHINGTON (A.W.)—U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Armenian President Serge Sarkisian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in separate telephone calls on June 20, to discuss the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabagh (Artsakh/NKR) conflict. Spokesperson for the United States Department of State John Kirby said in a press briefing on June 30, that Kerry noted “positively” that the ceasefire along the NKR Line of Contact (LoC) and the Armenia-Azerbaijan border has largely held in recent weeks. In his conversations, he also urged the presidents to “avoid tensions to advance the peace process.”
“Secretary Kerry asked the Presidents to fulfill the commitments, including implementation of the two confidence building measures, they made at the May 16 meeting in Vienna, Austria, and the June 20 meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia,” Kirby said during the press briefing.
During their conversations, Kerry also reiterated the United States’ support for substantive talks that can lead to a comprehensive settlement, and urged both presidents to continue their dialogue under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group.
Kerry’s conversations with the two presidents come a little more than a week after Sarkisian and Aliyev participated in a trilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg, on June 20.
According to the joint statement released by the three presidents, the sides agreed to increase the number of international observers in the conflict zone and expressed their satisfaction over Armenia and Azerbaijan respecting the ceasefire in recent weeks.
Following the trilateral meeting, Sarkisian met with OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs James Warlick (U.S.), Igor Popov (Russia), Pierre Andrieu (France), and the personal representative of the OSCE chairman-in-office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk in St. Petersburg. According to the press office of the Armenian president, during the meeting Sarkisian shared his impressions of the meetings conducted between Putin and Aliyev.
Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau member and director of its Central Hai Tahd office Giro Manoyan said that the joint statement released by the presidents of Armenia, Russia, and Azerbaijan after their June 20 meeting in St. Petersburg has raised some concerns for the ARF.
“We [the ARF] are concerned that once serious negotiations to solve the conflict begin, the pressure on the Armenian side—on Nagorno-Karabagh—will increase,” Manoyan told reports on June 21. According to him, the ARF is concerned that in an attempt to satisfy Azerbaijan, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs may begin to develop a comprehensive settlement without taking into consideration all the principles of a final and lasting peace. “This would bring on some consequences,” he said.