The OSCE Chairman-in-Office, the Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, was in the South Caucasus this week and on Thursday met separetely in Baku and Yerevan with Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev, and with the Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, earlier today.
During his meeting with Rau, Aliyev expressed hope that the upcoming meeting with Pashinyan would be a fruitful one. Earlier this week, it was announced that Pashinyan and Aliyev had agreed to discuss Armenian-Azerbaijani relations in Brussels on 6 April, in a meeting organised by European Council president Charles Michel. Aliyev went on to tell Rau that Azerbaijan was ready to normalise relations with Armenia. He added that Azerbaijan had “received certain messages from Armenian officials. As I was recently informed, one of these messages is that they consider our proposal acceptable. This is very good news, and I hope that this issue will be clarified at the meeting in Brussels”.
Rau reportedly expressed hope that Armenian-Azerbaijani relations would soon return to normal, saying that the current stage leading to a settlement seemed very optimistic. The sides exchanged views on other issues of mutual interest.
The Armenian readout states that Pashinyan and Rau discussed the cooperation between Armenia and the OSCE, emphasising the role of the organisation in ensuring security and stability in the region. Pashinyan reportedly briefed Rau on the current situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, and the sides discussed the conflict within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group, “noting the importance of protecting the fundamental rights of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh”. Rau is reported to have added that the OSCE was committed to continue its efforts to promote peace in the region and ensure stability in the South Caucasus.
Both Pashinyan and Aliyev also held separate phone calls with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, yesterday. The report from the Kremlin said that “the development of the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh was discussed, putting the emphasis on the solution of practical problems aimed at ensuring security and stability in the region. The importance of consistent implementation of all provisions of the trilateral declarations of November 9, 2020 and January 11 and November 26, 2021 was reaffirmed”.