ST PETERSBURG (Combined Sources)—Russian President Dmitry Medvedev brought his Azerbaijani and Armenian counterparts, Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sarkisian, together on Thursday for talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in St. Petersburg, the Russian Itar Tass news agency reported.
The talks took take place on the sidelines of an international economic forum in the Russian city scheduled for June 17-19. Sarkisian’s press office on Wednesday said the Armenian leader would be among the foreign dignitaries attending the forum.
The meeting focused on the “most crucial problems” prevent a settlement of the conflict, according to Medvedev’s press secretary, who spoke to reporters following the talks. “The sides noted the bridging of their positions on a number of contradictory provisions of the text in the basic principles of the Karabakh conflict settlement,” Natalya Timakova said.
She added that the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia “reiterated readiness to continue dialogue to finalize” an updated version of the basic principles of a Karabakh settlement put forward by the American, Russian and French mediators late last year.
The most recent talks between Sarkisian and Aliyev, also hosted by Medvedev, took place in the Russian Black Sea city of Sochi last January. Contrary to some expectations, it did not yield a breakthrough in the long-running international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Aliyev has since repeatedly accused Armenia of dragging feet over international mediators’ existing peace proposals which he says are largely acceptable to Baku. Speaking to Azerbaijani journalists last week, he claimed that Sarkisian promised to respond to the proposed Karabakh settlement in two weeks’ time at Sochi but has still not done so.
Aliyev warned that Baku will pull out of further negotiations with the Armenian side if the peace process remains deadlocked. He had also said he planned no fresh face-to-face meetings with Sarkisian “anytime soon.”