Putin Vows to Study Caucasus Stability Pact

ANKARA (Itar-Tass)–Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov–who is on an official visit in Turkey–passed a letter by acting President Vladimir Putin to Turkish President Suleyman Demirel on Tuesday.

Putin’s letter was his response to Demirel’s initiative of a Caucasus stability pact which was introduced during his visit to Geogria in January.

Demirel sent his letter to Putin on January 18–laying out his vision of the pact which he said should rest on the principles of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

"The idea of creating a ‘stability pact’ in the Caucasus was met with interest in Russia–and will be studied by its leaders," Putin said in his letter–which was faxed to Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

Putin said he shares the Turkish president’s concern over the situation in the Caucasus and called for finding measures to bring stability and peace to the region.

Putin added that it was important that interests of the Caucasus and neighboring countries are heeded in solving the region’s problems.

He said dialogue between Russia and Turkey on regional problems should continue.

Putin expressed hopes that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would be settled before long–with normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey.

He said in his letter that Russia as a co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk group for Karabakh conflict resolution is actively involved in ending the long-standing conflict between Azerbaijan and the Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Putin informed Demirel on results of the CIS summit which was held in Moscow in late January–during which the Caucasus regional situation was discussed among other things.

Klebanov and Demirel also discussed the situation in Russia’s North Caucasus–prospects of a bilateral Blue Stream project of Russia’s transportation of natural gas to Turkey through a Black Sea pipeline–as well as Russia-Turkey political and economic cooperation.

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