Nov 29 2010

The Minsk Group mediators have briefed the OSCE chairman-in-office
on their latest meetings with the Azerbaijani and Armenian leadership.

The briefing came two days before the OSCE summit opens in the Kazakh
capital, Astana, on Wednesday 1 December.

Minsk Group co-chairs Igor Popov of Russia, Robert Bradtke of the USA
and Bernard Fassier of France discussed the prospects for resolution
of the Karabakh conflict with Kazakh Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev.

"We talked about the meetings that the co-chairs held recently in
Baku and Yerevan, about the work to prepare the basic principles
[for a peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict]," Popov told
reporters on Monday in Astana after the meeting with Saudabayev.

"We expressed the hope that the OSCE summit would become an important
arena for the continuation of dialogue between the Armenian and
Azerbaijani sides," the diplomat said.

Kanat Saudabayev said that Kazakhstan and the OSCE hoped that the
Astana summit would promote a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

The Kazakh minister spoke to Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar
Mammadyarov by phone today after a similar conversation with Armenian
Minister Edward Nalbandian, Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman Ilyas
Omarov said.

Meanwhile, the president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Petros
Efthymiou, told journalists in Astana that he too hoped for progress
on Karabakh at the summit.

"The OSCE is one of the foundations for the resolution of protracted
conflicts. This will be one of the most important topics at the OSCE
Astana summit. I hope that the summit will make progress on this,"
the Greek MP said.

The flurry of diplomacy by the Minsk Group co-chairs has stoked
speculation that some kind of deal might be reached if and when the
presidents meet in Astana.

From: A. Papazian