View of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Photo by Marc Ryckaert, via Wikimedia

On December 4, foreign ministers Elmar Mamedyarov and Zohrab Mnatsakanyan met during the annual ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The ministers were unable to agree on a joint statement that mediators hoped for prior to the meeting, but they agreed to meet again “early next year.”

While the meeting did not appear to offer any “progress” in talks, it capped the quietest year on the Line of Contact since the 1994 cease-fire. The year also saw parallel visits by Armenian and Azerbaijani journalists that while tightly controlled were also the first such visits in over a decade.

The two ministers met five times this year. Previous meetings were in New York during UN General Assembly in September, in Washington in June, in Moscow in April and in Paris in January. In addition to the ministers, Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan met three times in 2019, most recently at the post-Soviet summit in October.

The latest ministers’ meeting took place in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, because the country chaired the OSCE during 2019. Notably, Slovakia chaired the organization shortly after its leading arms manufacturer sold several dozens of heavy artillery pieces to Azerbaijan. While Armenian officials criticized the sale, Armenia did not bloc Slovakia’s chairing of the OSCE.