Turkey to Host Talks with Armenia, Azerbaijan Next Week

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian met in Istanbul Monday for talk on the normalization of relations between the two countries

Foreign Ministers from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey will meet next week for a second round of trilateral talks in the Finnish capital of Helsinki, reported Hurriyet daily news Wednesday.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan confirmed the meeting set for December 4-5 late Tuesday, following talks in Istanbul Monday with his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian, who was in Turkey for a meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization.

Babacan was quoted by Hurriyet as saying that the two diplomats decided during their meeting to have trilateral talks on the sidelines of next week’s OSCE meeting in Helsinki.

The three foreign ministers met last on the sidelines of the 63rd UN General Assembly in September for talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Turkey’s Caucasus Stability and Cooperation platform.

A slew of conflicting Turkish media reports in recent weeks indicated that such a meeting might be on the agenda. But the Armenian foreign Ministry never confirmed that upcoming talks were in the works, saying only that Nalbandian was scheduled to visit Istanbul for the BSEC summit.

Babacan said last week that there was a “consensus to repeat the trilateral meeting” but refrained from giving actual dates, explaining that the meeting’s schedule “should be determined carefully so that concrete results can be taken,” Hurriyet reported.

There is "busy diplomacy traffic" with Armenia, he told reporters in Ankara Tuesday before departing for a tour of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. "We have been moving ahead and making progress with Armenia each time we talk to each other, and I hope talks between both Azerbaijan and Armenia, and Turkey and Armenia could produce certain results in a reasonable time," he was quoted by Anatolian Agency as saying.

He said Turkey’s goal was to “fully normalize relations” in the region, adding that efforts continue to shore up support for the Caucasus stability platform, proposed by Turkey following the Russian-Georgian conflict in August.

Babacan is set to arrive in Baku on Sunday for talks on the Helsinki meeting with Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, adding that the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform is also on the agenda.

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