On Wednesday afternoon (11 May), Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met his Azerbaijani opposite number Elmar Mammadyarov at the Federal Foreign Office. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict played a prominent role in the talks, but bilateral economic relations and Azerbaijan’s role as a stabilising factor in the Caucasus region were also on the agenda.
“Returning to the negotiating table”
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was the most important matter discussed. During the last few weeks, violence has again flared up along the line of conflict in the Southern Caucasus. The two Ministers stressed the necessity for all parties to the conflict to return to the negotiating table as quickly as possible in order to pave the way for a political solution. Although a renewed ceasefire is in place at the moment, they stated that the status quo was untenable. Steinmeier called for the current ceasefire to be stabilised as a first step so that the political talks on finding a durable solution could finally be continued.
A ceasefire was agreed on in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in 1994. However, armed clashes occur along the ceasefire line time and again. The most recent escalation in violence took place in early April 2016 and cost many lives.
As part of its OSCE Chairmanship, Germany is actively working to bring about progress towards a solution to this conflict. For example, Germany is supporting the mediation efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group which, under the co-chairmanship of France, Russia and the United States, is seeking to find a mutually acceptable solution in talks with all parties. Ambassador Kasprzyk, the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, is currently on his way to the line of conflict in order to gain a first-hand impression of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“The whole spectrum of our bilateral relations”
Steinmeier emphasised that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would not be the only issue discussed during the talks. Rather, the “whole spectrum” of bilateral relations between Germany and Azerbaijan would be addressed. As well as the dialogue on democracy, human rights and Azerbaijan’s role in the region, economic relations between the two countries are also important.