By Emil Danielyan
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts in Moscow on November 2 for potentially decisive talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it was officially announced on Wednesday.
The Kremlin said the trilateral meeting will take place “in accordance with an agreement reached earlier.”
President Serzh Sarkisian’s office confirmed the information. “Issues related to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be on the agenda of the meeting,” it said in a short statement.
Medvedev publicly offered to host more face-to-face talks between Sarkisian and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliev during an official visit to Yerevan on October 21. The Karabakh conflict was reportedly high on the agenda of the trip. Medvedev also discussed it in a phone call with Aliev the next day.
Medvedev announced his initiative following upbeat statements on Karabakh peace prospects made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. In an October 7 interview with the “Rossiiskaya Gazeta” daily, Lavrov described as “very real” chances for the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. “There remain two or three unresolved issues which need to be agreed upon at the next meetings of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan,” he said.
The United States and France, which co-chair the OSCE’s Minsk Group along with Russia, have also expressed hope that Aliev and Sarkisian will reach agreement before the end of the year on the basic principles of a Karabakh settlement proposed by the mediators. But they have yet to react to Russia’s seemingly unilateral initiative.
Senior American, French and Russian diplomats co-chairing the Minsk Group were due to jointly visit the conflict zone this week. However, the trip was postponed indefinitely.
Sarkisian said at the weekend that the Karabakh dispute can be resolved only if Azerbaijan recognizes the Karabakh Armenians’ “right to self-determination.” But Aliev insisted on Friday that Baku will never accept Karabakh’s secession from Azerbaijan.