Putin To Meet Armenian And Azerbaijani Presidents In Sochi


Russia Today
Aug 8 2014

The Russian President will hold talks with his colleagues from Armenia
and Azerbaijan on Saturday as relations between the two Transcaucasia
nations have deteriorated in the worst crisis since the beginning of
the century.

According to the plan published on President Vladimir Putin’s web-site,
the Russian leader will meet Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan separately, but both meetings will
be held on the same day in the Southern Russia resort city of Sochi.

The talks with Aliyev will touch upon cooperation between Russia
and Azerbaijan with priority on mutual energy projects, investment
schemes and regional development. The meeting with Sargsyan will be
dedicated to political, trade and cultural cooperation between the
Russian Federation and Armenia with special attention on Armenia’s
planned entry into the Customs Union – the Eurasian economic bloc
uniting Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Earlier this week Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told
reporters that it was possible that President Putin would discuss
the current situation in Nagorno-Karabakh at the meetings with
Aliyev and Sargsyan. Tension between the two countries dramatically
escalated earlier this month leading to death of 18 servicemen –
13 Azerbaijanis and five representatives of the Nagorno-Karabakh
Republic – the unrecognized state populated by ethnical Armenians
and completely surrounded by Azerbaijan.

The new outbreak of violence was denounced by many members of
the international community, including the OSCE Minsk Group on the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is co-chaired by Russia, the United
States and France and independently the US State Department and the EU.

The Armenian President’s press service announced on Thursday that Serzh
Sargsyan was ready to take part in a three-sided meeting between the
Russian, Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents in order to discuss the
current crisis and its possible solutions. Azerbaijan has not yet
officially reacted to the suggestion.

The last key agreement on a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict was signed in Moscow in 2008, largely due to Russian
mediation. Then, the leaders of the two nations agreed to continue
high profile talks and instructed their foreign ministers to intensify
negotiations in collaboration with Russia, the United States and
France. Several summits have been held since then, the last one in
Russia in early 2012.

The confrontation over Nagorno-Karabakh broke out in 1988 when the
region, mostly populated by Armenians, sought independence from
Azerbaijan and announced its intention to join Armenia. In 1991,
the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was founded. Azerbaijan tried to regain
control over the territory and the conflict escalated into a full-scale
war in which around 30,000 people were killed.

The sides announced a ceasefire in 1994, but never agreed a peace
treaty and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic continues to exist as an
unrecognized state.


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