Bryza: Vienna meeting on Karabakh generated positive momentum

The Vienna meeting on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement was quite successful because US Secretary of State John Kerry participated in it, Matthew Bryza, the former US assistant secretary for South Caucasus and former US ambassador to Azerbaijan, told Trend May 19.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.

On May 16, a meeting was held in Vienna, with participation of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, French Minister of State for European Affairs Harlem Desir, OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, and special representative of the OSCE chairperson-in-office Andrzej Kasprzyk.

The Vienna meeting brought the US back in the process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’s settlement, Bryza said, adding that the US decided to step back to the floor in the negotiations and play a more active role in the settlement of the conflict alongside with Russia.

Bryza went on to add that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his top officials made the ceasefire real after the escalation of tensions on the contact line between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops in early April, while US President Barack Obama remained silent, and the statement of the US Department of State was very weak.

The Vienna meeting will hopefully lead to real discussions about the comprehensive settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on renewed Madrid principles, but it all will require more time and maybe another meeting of the presidents in June, Bryza said.

The meeting in Vienna generated some positive momentum, Bryza said, adding that however, it’s not worth expecting a breakthrough in the conflict’s settlement.

Source: Azer News