President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia and President Ilham Aliev of Azerbaijan are set to meet in Austria on Tuesday (19 November), as part of efforts to re-start stalled negotiations for the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The meeting was arranged with some difficulty by the mediators of the OSCE Minsk Process, diplomats from France, Russia and the United States. The Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan have had several meetings over the last year in an effort to find enough common ground for a presidential meeting.
Commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment that "based on the experience of the past the international community is being very cautious in how it evaluates prospects for the meeting, and expectations of a major breakthrough are very low. The two sides are committed to entrenched, and seemingly irreconcilable positions which they both have recently reiterated. The two presidents over the summer used sharp language to criticise each other and attack each other personally, making a personal meeting even more difficult.
However at this point both Presidents may find it expedient to take the negotiations a step forward. Both are keen not to be seen as spoilers, and for different reasons both want to gain time and space to manoevre. It is not however clear if this will be enough to turn tomorrow's meeting into something positive and constructive."
The meeting in Krakow between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan did not lead to a breakthrough, and none was expected. But there appears to be a change of gear in the negotiations, says Dennis Sammut in this week's Monday Commentary