CIS Heads Hold Informal Summit in Russia

SOCHI–Russia (RFE/RL)–Leaders of ten former Soviet states–including Armenia–ended a two-day informal summit in Russian resort city Sochi on Thursday–during which they discussed joint measures to fight against drug trafficking and international terrorism. Speaking at a concluding press conference–Russian President Vladimir Putin said the gathering of Commonwealth of Independent States leaders in Sochi–which was held at a rustic restaurant outside Sochi–was "very useful and utterly frank."

Putin met earlier in the day with Azeri President Haydar Aliyev and discussed the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. According to ITAR-TASS–he briefed Aliyev on his recent discussions of the Karabakh issue with Presidents George Bush of the United States and Jacques Chirac of France. The Russian leader expressed confidence that the joint peace efforts of the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group will end in success.

Karabakh was also high on the agenda of Putin’s meeting on Wednesday with his Armenian counterpart–Robert Kocharian. The two men also discussed details of Putin’s visit to Armenia’scheduled for next month.

The Armenian and Azeri leaders reported no movement forward in the stalled peace process after face-to-face talks on Wednesday. The Turan news agency quoted Aliyev as saying that both sides have discussed various options of resolution of the conflict and agreed to continue their direct contacts.

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