Baku Warm to Russian Sponsored Karabakh Summit

BAKU (Trend)–Official Baku Tuesday welcomed the possibility of Russia hosting a future Armenian-Azeri summit on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, responding to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev’s calls on Tuesday for a new round of talks between the two countries’ leaders.

Trilateral talks took place earlier and it is possible to hold a new meeting,” Azeri Presidential advisor Novruz Mammadov told, citing the September 26 Turkish sponsored talks between the Foreign Ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Medvedev said Tuesday during talks in Yerevan with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian that he will host peace talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which appear willing to negotiate a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

During a visit to Armenia, Medvedev said talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia about the complex territorial issue have reached an "advanced" stage. He added the two neighbors appear ready to "search for a solution."

Mammadov said that official Moscow has been more active in seeking a resolution to the Karabakh conflict, signaling its growing interest in regional relations. “Therefore, a proposal to hold a trilateral meeting may be made. At that time, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will express his attitude toward this issue,” he added.

But no concrete proposal has been made yet on the format of the meeting, Mammadov said.

Mammadov’s warm reception of Medvedev’s proposal comes after a series of announcemen’s from high level officials in the United States, Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkey that have signaled a consolidated effort to rush to a resolution of the Karabakh conflict, as a pre-condition for ensuring and establishing stability in the region.

In remarks to a Russian newspaper earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed confidence that after Azerbaijan’s October 15 presidential election, the Karabakh conflict resolution would be on the horizon, since, without that Armenia and Turkey would not be able to establish normal diplomatic relations–a long-held policy by Turkey reiterated by President Abdullah Gul in his address to the United Nation’s General Assembly.

Russia has maintained close ties with Armenia and has a military base there, but it also recently stepped up its efforts to improve relations with energy-rich Azerbaijan. Russia has been courting Azerbaijan by offering to buy its natural gas for shipmen’s to Europe. If Moscow succeeds, that would strengthen its monopoly on gas shipmen’s from the former Soviet region to Europe.

Meanwhile, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza said during a visit to Azerbaijan on October 9 that it was more important than ever now to resolve the dispute, pointing to the war in Georgia. Bryza promised that the United States would intensify efforts to help settle the conflict. In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation Russian language service, Bryza, who serves as the State Department’s representative to the OSCE Minsk Group talks, called for a speedy resolution to the conflict based on Armenia’s agreement that Nagorno-Karabakh is legally part of Azerbaijan.


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