ULYANOVSK, Russia (RFE/RL)–Russian President Dmitry Medvedev welcomed what he called further progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process during talks with his visiting Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, the Kremlin said late on Wednesday.
The two men held talks after inaugurating a statute of Aliyev’s late father and predecessor Heydar Aliyev in the Russian city of Ulyanovsk earlier in the day. The international efforts to resolve the Karabakh conflict were reportedly high on their agenda.
“Ilham Aliyev briefed Dmitry Medvedev in detail on the results of the latest round of his negotiations with Armenia’s President Serzh Sarkisian held [in Munich on November 22] with the participation of the [OSCE] Minsk Group representatives,” said Natalya Timakova, a spokesman for Medvedev.
“The president of Russia welcomed the positive movement of the negotiating process and assured his colleague that Moscow will continue to make all necessary efforts to achieve a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” she added.
The Russian, American and French diplomats co-chairing the Minsk Group gave a mixed assessment of the Munich summit, saying that Aliyev and Sarkisian made progress on some issues but failed to agree on others. “In some areas, progress was made,” they said in a joint statement. “At the same time, some issues still remain open.”
Medvedev personally mediated some of the previous meetings between the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders held in the past year. In a joint declaration issued after one such trilateral meeting in November 2008, they pledged to seek a “political solution” to the dispute.
Aliyev warned late last week that Azerbaijan will have no choice but to resume the war in Karabakh if the Munich talks end in failure. He has not yet commented on their outcome.
Meeting in Ulyanovsk, the Russian and Azerbaijani presidents expressed their satisfaction with the current state of relations between their nations. Aliyev described it as “strategic partnership.” “If everyone in the world had relations like Azerbaijan and Russia have, there would be no problems in the world,” he said.