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Mediators Look Forward To Next Karabakh Summit

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (right) greets U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza in Yerevan.
YEREVAN -- International mediators have visited Yerevan to discuss preparations for the upcoming fresh meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

The U.S., French, and Russian co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group said President Serzh Sarkisian formally agreed to meet his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev in Moscow on July 17.

They expect to secure Aliyev's final consent to what will be the sixth Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in just over a year.

The group's U.S. co-chair, Matthew Bryza, insisted that the two leaders made "significant progress" at their last talks held in St. Petersburg and Prague.

"I'm hopeful that we will see a continuation of the progress that we saw in Prague but really in St. Petersburg," he told RFE/RL.

Speaking at a joint news conference held by the mediating troika later in the day, Bernard Fassier, the French co-chair, said that the two parties have all but agreed on the most important of about 15 "basic principles" of a Karabakh peace agreement proposed by the co-chairs.

Meanwhile, Bryza also called on the Armenian government to release opposition members and supporters still in prison after a general amnesty declared by the authorities last month.

Bryza told RFE/RL that "there were these releases that we've asked for some time and it is positive."

He expressed hope that there would be more releases and the amnesty would lead to a "re-energizing of democratic reforms" in the country.