Meeting Takes Place in a ‘Constructive Atmosphere’ According to Statement
GENEVA (A.W.)—The Presidents and Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Geneva on Oct. 16 under the auspices of the co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group.
Minsk Group Co-Chairs Igor Popov (Russia), Stephane Visconti (France), and Andrew Schofer (U.S.), as well as Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk, also participated in the meeting, which took place in a “constructive atmosphere,” according to a joint statement released by the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan and the Minsk Group co-chairs.
“The Presidents agreed to take measures to intensify the negotiation process and to take additional steps to reduce tensions on the Line of Contact,” read a part of the statement.
During the meeting, the co-chairs expressed their satisfaction with the direct talks and said they remain ready to work with the sides on mediating a peacefully negotiated settlement of the Nagorno-Karabagh (Artsakh) conflict.
The co-chairs also announced that as a next step they would organize working sessions with the foreign ministers in the near future.
Sarkisian and Aliyev also held a private meeting following the talks.
Just two days before the Oct. 13 announcement of the meeting, Armenian Armed Forces serviceman private Chaplin Margaryan (b. 1998) was killed by Azerbaijani fire in the morning. According to the Armenian Ministry of Defense, the incident took place at a military unit in the northeast, along the Azerbaijani border.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry had described the Oct. 11 killing of the Armenian soldier as an act of provocation ahead of the meeting between Sarkisian and Aliyev.
“Ahead of a meeting of Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents, [Azeri President] Ilham Aliyev continues provocations,” ministry spokesperson Tigran Balayan said in a tweet. Earlier, President Sarkisian’s spokesperson, Vladimir Hakobyan, told Yerevan reporters that it is long known to all that the Azerbaijani authorities resort to provocations before high-level meetings “in an attempt to pollute the political environment.”