By Artak Khulian and Ruzanna Stepanian
YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly trying to host a fresh meeting of the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan following a series of Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks organized by Western powers.
Citing an unnamed “diplomatic source,” the Russian daily Vedomosti reported on Monday, October 24, that the summit could take place in Moscow or Sochi before the end of this month. The Armenian government declined to confirm or refute the report.
Putin publicly offered to hold a trilateral meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev when he addressed on October 14 a summit of ex-Soviet states in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. “You can agree on a date,” he said, appealing to them.
The offer followed Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s meeting with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts held on the sidelines of the Astana summit. It underlined Moscow’s efforts to regain the initiative in international efforts to settle the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.
The United States and the European Union have been at the forefront of those efforts in recent months and especially since the September 13-14 fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. Russia says that the Western powers are trying to sideline it and use the Karabakh conflict in the geopolitical standoff over Ukraine.