Babacan to Travel to Baku for Talks on Karabakh

BAKU–Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will fly to Baku on a two day official visit for talks with top officials on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict. He is scheduled to arrive in the Azeri capital on November 30, the Turkish embassy in Azerbaijan said.

News of the Turkish Foreign Minister’s trip to Azerbaijan comes a day after he met with his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian in Istanbul for talks that reportedly lasted more than two hours and were held behind closed doors.

The sides were reported to have discussed bilateral relations, the recent Turkish initiative of establishing a so-called cooperation and security platform in the Caucasus as well as other issues concerning the broader region.

The news also comes as Russia’s ambassador to Turkey announced on Monday that representatives from the five countries offered a role in Turkey’s so-called Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform will meet by the end of the year for “fully-fledged discussions” on the fate of the proposed regional platform.

Turkey announced plans to create a Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform that would include the three South Caucasus countries plus two regional heavyweights, Turkey and Russia, following the Russian-Georgian conflict in August. The regional framework, if realized, will allow Turkey to extend its influence into the Caucasus at a level unseen since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

"The proposals submitted by the Turkish side concerning the platform are appropriate for us and we will continue to work together,” Russian Ambassador Vladimir Ivanovsky told reporters at a reception held in the Russian Embassy on Monday. "We expect positive signals from other countries as well and I hope the representatives of five countries will begin collective discussions by the end of this year."

Ivanovsky also commented on Monday’s meeting in Istanbul between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Turkey, welcoming it as "very constructive" and "positive." The Russian ambassador added that he hoped positive consequences would emerge from the meeting.

He also said that consultations on the Caucasus Platform were held last Friday between Russia’s deputy foreign minister and the deputy undersecretary of the Turkish foreign ministry.

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