As has been the plan for over a month, on December 6 Elmar Mamedyarov and Eduard Nalbandyan met in Vienna, Austria, during the annual ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The mediators from France, Poland, Russia and the United States joined in the meeting. The next meeting of the ministers is currently planned for the “second half of January.”
Although judging by this schedule, the sides did not appear to be in the rush to negotiate, both sides, as well as the mediators, appeared satisfied with the meeting. In a statement after the talks, the mediating nations said that they “express satisfaction with the intensified negotiations, and appeal to the sides to focus their efforts on finding compromise solutions to the substantive issues of political settlement. Further delays will only complicate the situation and could call into question the commitment of the Parties to reach a lasting agreement.” The statement also renewed the call for expansion of the OSCE monitoring mission that was agreed after the April 2016 fighting, but that Azerbaijan has since refused to implement.
While none of these statements sounded new, there was one novelty coming from Tigran Balayan, spokesman for the Armenian foreign ministry: his picture from the ministers’ meeting had captions in both Armenian and Azerbaijani languages.