понедельник, 16 мая 2016 г.

Armenian, Azeri leaders to meet to break Nagorno-Karabakh impasse


Reuters, 16/05 19:08 CET
VIENNA (Reuters) – The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet in Vienna on Monday in an attempt by the United States, Russia and France to try to end violence in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region and push for peace talks.
It will be the first meeting by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev since a dramatic flare-up in violence between Armenian-backed separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azeri forces last month killed dozens of people and pushed relations to a multi-year low.
The conflict has worried the international community, in part because it could cause instability in a region that serves as a corridor for pipelines taking oil and gas to world markets.
A senior U.S. State Department official said the meeting would seek commitments from both sides to a 1994 ceasefire agreement and to take steps that would rebuild confidence and lead to peace talks.
At best, the meeting would launch fresh talks, a second U.S. official said.

“We’d like to see an outcome where the presidents agree to take certain steps to reduce tensions,” the first U.S. official said, adding: “We would like to see both sides commit themselves to meeting in order to negotiate a comprehensive settlement.”
“Secretary (of State John) Kerry will request the presidents to come together in the near future to work toward that comprehensive settlement,” the official said.
The meeting would not have time to get into the substance of how the conflict can be resolved, the official said, adding:
“There are principles and elements that are the basis for negotiating a settlement and these have been on the table for a long time, so we’d like to have a discussion tonight where both sides reiterate their support for these elements and principles and identify them as the basis for moving forward.”
The ex-Soviet states of Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a war over the mountainous territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s in which thousands were killed on both sides and hundreds of thousands displaced.
The war ended with a truce in 1994, although there has been sporadic violence since. The ceasefire was shattered last month when Azerbaijan’s army and Armenian-backed separatists exchanged heavy fire using artillery, tanks, rockets and helicopters.
The State Department official said both presidents had come close to a settlement before and are “not that far apart” on what an accord could look like.
“We have been trying to bring them together and tonight is no exception so that they can narrow those differences,” the official said, “In this case we would like to have a sustained negotiating process.”
The European Union’s foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, said she would meet both presidents later on Monday.
(Additional reporting by Andrew Osborn in Moscow; Editing by Dmitry Solovyov and Gareth Jones)

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