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Difficulties Reported At Latest Armenia-Azerbaijan Summit

Presidents Serzh Sarkisian of Armenia and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan met at the French consulate in Munich on November 22.
MUNICH -- International mediators gave a mixed assessment of the Munich talks between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, saying there was progress on some issues but a failure to agree on others, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, met in Munich on November 22 for their sixth face-to-face meeting this year amid lingering international hopes for a solution to the Karabakh problem.

The French, Russian, and American cochairs of the OSCE Minsk Group did not announce a breakthrough after the talks or in a joint written statement issued afterward, and neither Aliyev nor Sarkisian spoke to the press.

The cochairs declined to elaborate on any reported obstacles to signing an Armenian-Azerbaijani agreement on the Minsk Group's basic principles for a Karabakh settlement proposed by the Minsk Group.

Their next step will be to arrange a meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers on the sidelines of an OSCE ministerial conference to be held in Athens on December 1-2.

Aliyev had raised hopes ahead of the Munich talks, saying that a failure to produce results would leave Azerbaijan with no choice but to try to solve the conflict by force.

Aliyev said on November 21 that "Azerbaijan is spending billions on buying new weapons, hardware, [and] strengthening its position at the line of contact." He added, "We have the full right to liberate our land by military means."

The OSCE mediators disapproved of the threat.

French cochair Bernard Fassier said that the governments in Moscow, Washington, and Paris "are of the opinion that war is not an option."