Armenian Prime Minister, Azerbaijani President agree to meet
The OSCE Minsk Group, which mediates the negotiation process in the Karabakh conflict, has reported that Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev have agreed to meet.
They also assessed the decrease in the number of casualties on the line of contact in recent months positively.
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The announcement follows a recent statement made by the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Elmar Mammadyarov in January in which both sides confirmed their readiness to ‘prepare both nations for peace’.
Pundits in both countries reacted with reservation, and urged the public not to expect immediate results.
Political observer Hakob Badalyan told JAMnews:
“…it would be naive to believe that this problem has a compromise solution. Both countries perceive the problem as a question of statehood. The statement about the need to prepare the nations for peace should be taken as a signal that the problem will not be solved in the near future. It can be interpreted as an intention to adapt the people to the situation that has developed so that there are no illusions in that a compromise solution can be reached.”
JAMnews political commentator in Baku, Shahin Rzayev, said:
“Each side hopes that the other will take the first step – but it seems to me that there will be no hurry. The Azerbaijani side places certain hopes on the new government of Pashinyan, if only because there is no such aversion at the personal level, which was the case with the former negotiators from the Armenian side, and there is a certain hope for hypothetical assistance from Russia.
“The Armenian side, of course, is interested in reducing the revanchist rhetoric from Azerbaijan. But, all this can work only if the parties have a plan and make a concerted effort to take action, and this is hard to believe.
“Either the parties must act simultaneously and in stages, or nothing will happen. Whoever takes the first step unilaterally will lose much in the ratings, including power.”