Armenia President Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijan leader Ilham Aliyev held two hours of face-to-face talks on July 17, seeking to achieve a breakthrough in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. Neither Armenian nor Azerbaijani officials released details about the discussion, held in Moscow.
Sargsyan and Aliyev were scheduled to continue Karabakh talks on July 18, along with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. With international mediators expressing growing optimism about a peace deal, Sargsyan in particular has come under growing domestic pressure. Representatives of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) -- a one-time member of the governing coalition that has become estranged from Sargsyan's administration in recent months -- warned the government against making "irreversible" concessions.
ARF spokesman Armen Rustamian said on July 16 that his party would push for Sargsyan's resignation if the president signed a pact with Azerbaijan that was deemed to be overly conciliatory. Rustamian also suggested that Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian should resign. "Armenia's foreign policy has deviated from the main provisions of its national security strategy," Rustamian claimed.
Nalbandian told the A1plus news agency on July 17 that Armenia would not commit itself to an agreement unless all its concerns were fully taken into account, and its security conditions met.