How Armenia, Azerbaijan Size Each Other Up in the Poker Game of Peace

More than two months after a fresh round of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan are again pledging to pursue a peaceful resolution to the decades-long conflict. At the same time, they are looking for change.
“The status quo is not acceptable,” Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at a June 7 appearance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, RFE/RL reported. Meanwhile, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan wants Aliyev to refrain from “childish behavior” – he recently predicted the Armenian leader will enter the Guinness Book of World Records for lying – that could undermine future talks. 
The pair is expected to meet by the end of this month in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg, but a date has not yet been announced. Whether or not Putin will participate in the meeting is also unclear.
A May meeting in Vienna, mediated by the OSCE’s Minsk Group, which oversees negotiations between the two sides, resulted in the usual calls for a peaceful settlement of the conflict, but little more.
“Every time when it seems that it’s already impossible to reconcile Armenia and Azerbaijan, their presidents nonetheless sit down at the same table,” drily commented the Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti.
In advance of the expected sit-down in St. Petersburg, shares here two commentaries written by Azerbaijani and Armenian analysts on behalf of their respective governments, outlining the perspectives of both sides as they try one more time to break the Karabakh negotiating stalemate.