Sargsyan-Aliyev meeting falls short of the expectations

It is hard to tell that the experts feel hopeful about the bilateral meeting that was held on December 19 in Swiss capital Bern.

The last meeting of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan was held in Paris on October 2014, with the participation of the French Prime Minister Hollande. In recent months, there has been tension along Azerbaijan’s borders with Armenia and Karabakh and because of that, a meeting where two presidents would come together has been considered important. The expected meeting took place on December 19 in Swiss capital Bern, with the participation of the co-chairs of OSCE Minsk Group.

It is known that the meeting was arranged with the efforts of Igor Popov, James Warlick and Pierre Andreau, who are the co-chairs of Minsk Group and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzky. They said that this summit is an important chance for two presidents to exchange their ideas and thoughts and it is stated that the main topic of the meeting was the tension that has been increasing lately. During the meeting, it was reported that an Armenian soldier was shot and this development indicated that the meetings won’t end the current tension.

Minsk Group made a brief statement after the meeting: “The presidents stated that they are ready to decrease the tension along the borders and the investigations will be started for illuminating the casualties.” In the statement, it is also pointed out that both Armenia and Azerbaijan stated that they still support the works of Minsk Group and they are a part of the process.

After the meeting, Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandyan met with journalists in Erivan. Nalbandyan said: “Armenia has always showed that it is a part of the works of Minks Group and obeys the rules of ceasefire agreement. As you know, our attitude hasn’t changed; we want to solve this issue in a peaceful way. We attended this meeting in order to remind the importance of a peaceful solution.” The Foreign Minister also reminded the discrepancy between the perspectives of both sides and blamed Azerbaijan. “Azerbaijan doesn’t want a peaceful solution. This means that Azerbaijan doesn’t accept the proposals of both Minsk Group and Armenia.”

It is hard to tell that the experts feel hopeful about the bilateral meeting. Armenian Institute of International and Security Affairs President Styopa Safaryan said that such meetings are held only for the sake of formality. He said, “I don’t expect an important development. Co-chairs of Minsk Group, especially the US, want to keep the meeting under their control. These meetings have been going on for a long time and Azerbaijan is trying to drag out the process as much as they can. They promised a peaceful solution during the meeting in Paris and Sochi, but they started attacking right after the meetings.”

Armenian bureaucrats and press in Bern stated that Azerbaijani press’ request of taking Aliyev’s opinion remained unanswered and their questions were answered by Armenia and Minsk Group. It is also observed that Azerbaijani press hasn’t covered the details of the meeting.