The completion of the talks of presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Vienna held with the mediation of the US foreign affairs agencies of Russia, France and the armed forces of the two warring Caucasus countries was met by shelling and the sacrifice of one soldier from each side.
"On 17 a soldier of Azerbaijani Armed Forces, Natig Tahirli died as a result of violation of ceasefire by Armenia on the contact line of troops," reads the statement the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan. "The enemy fatally wounded contract servicemen of the Defense Army of Nagorno-Karabakh at around 0:50 (23:50)," the Armenian Defense Ministry reported.
This reaction of the military on the contact line of Azerbaijan armed forces and Armenia in Karabakh suggests that the top officials in Baku and Yerevan, despite the Viennese assurances on maintaining a truce, are not ready to continue the peace negotiations, as referred to in the final statement of the Co-Chairs OSCE Minsk group.
The talks in Vienna began on the evening of Sunday, and lasted for two hours, notifying the public of the fact that the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia have agreed on the next round of talks in June, to be held at a mutually agreed location, with the aim of resuming negotiations on a comprehensive settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem.
To date, the main issue remains the observance of the ceasefire agreement obtained in 1994 and 1995. "To reduce the risk of further violence, they (the parties, Ed.) have agreed to conclude as soon as possible in the OSCE the mechanism to conduct investigations. The presidents also agreed to extend the existing mandate of the Office of Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman. Finally, they agreed to continue to exchange data on missing persons under the auspices of the ICRC, as presidents decided during the Paris summit in October 2014," reads the statement the US State Department.
After the local bloody battles in early April, the two sides also mediated by the Co-Chairs countries assured of commitment to the ceasefire, but reports from both sides say that the ceasefire was not respected once. So, before the June meeting, and if this takes place, the ceasefire is unlikely to be respected.
As for the June meeting, the implementation
of its ideas also remains in question, as the statements of the parties between 31 March and 15 May do not give even a chance to hint that the peace process has matured in the minds of strategists, meanwhile performing in military maps of the Karabakh settlement. In favor of the fragility of hope for a peaceful meeting in June is the fact that active hostilities in Karabakh began immediately after a visit to Washington by Presidents Aliyev and Sargsyan, where they also gave assurances on compliance with the ceasefire of 1994.
The current Washington's initiative to hold a presidential meeting on May 16 in Vienna, is unlikely to make changes in the agenda of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, mainly due to the fact that the warring parties were not able to bring the approaches of the meeting; the Azerbaijani approach that has increased in connection with the April victory short to a certain extent it is clear – peace in exchange for a higher status of Nagorno-Karabakh autonomy. In the Armenian version is not clear what changes has the position peace in exchange for the independence of Karabakh. But Serzh Sargsyan said after the meeting that he and his colleagues are satisfied with the results, and focus on more peace rather than a military solution to the conflict.
"We have made a constructive proposal. Since the talk was about approval by the co-chairs the OSCE Minsk Group the monitoring on preservation of ceasefire, we suggested that this monitoring be approved prior to our meeting. This is a constructive approach shown by the parties," said Sargsyan.
President Sargsyan could make some "constructive proposal", which is not excluded due to intensive consultations in the political circles of Armenia and the Diaspora after a stunning counter-attack of the Azerbaijani army in the beginning of April. It was the first such Armenian consultations on the Karabakh issue from the beginning of the century. But apparently, they did not particularly touch Aliyev. By noon on 17 May the Azerbaijani President has not yet expressed his attitude to the results of the negotiations. It could mean that he doubts about Sargsyan's initiatives and does not intend to take the strategic initiative, resulting in the gaps between the two intermediary efforts of Washington.