From left, President Ilham Aliyev, President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan

Putin Reportedly Keen to Host Another Armenian-Azeri Summit

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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.

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Aliyev and Pashinyan met in Prague as recently as on October 6 for talks mediated by French President Emmanuel Macron and European Union (EU) chief Charles Michel. They are understood to have made major progress towards signing an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty by the end of this year.

The four leaders also agreed on the dispatch of an EU monitoring mission to Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan where at least 280 soldiers were killed last month. Armenian leaders have criticized Russia and the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for what they see as a lack of support for Armenia shown during the two-day hostilities.

A senior Armenian lawmaker, Armen Khachatryan, on Monday lambasted the CSTO for not providing any military aid to Armenia or even condemning Azerbaijan’s offensive military operations launched at several sections of the border.

“Why is there no reaction to the aggression against a [CSTO] member state and occupation of its territory even in the form of statements?” he told a meeting of parliamentarians from the CSTO member states.

Khachatryan also claims that Baku is “ready” to launch a fresh and more large-scale offensive with the aim of opening a corridor to Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave through Armenia’s Syunik province. He said that Turkish troops could also participate in such an attack.

 

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