Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev reported progress in peace talks with Armenia and expressed hope that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be resolved soon during an official visit to Russia to Friday.
Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev also sounded cautiously optimistic about chances for Karabakh peace after holding talks with Aliev in the Kremlin. Speaking at their joint news conference, Medvedev said Baku and Yerevan could reach agreement soon if they manage to overcome “secondary but sometimes difficult factors.” He did not elaborate.
“I hope that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be settled fairly quickly,” Aliev said, for his part. “Of course the absence of a result can not make us happy. Nonetheless, we can not turn a blind eye to the fact that there has been certain progress in the negotiating process.”
"It is this progress that keeps alive our hope that the conflict will be settled rather soon," he added. "The positions of the sides recently became closer to a certain
degree. Some questions that previously seemed hard to solve have been agreed."
Aliev and his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sarkisian, are expected to meet again on the sidelines of a European Union summit in Prague scheduled for May 7. The American, French and Russian diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group hope that they will narrow their differences over the basic principles of a Karabakh settlement that were formally put forward by the mediators in November 2007.
The Moscow daily “Kommersant” reported on Friday that Moscow is trying to arrange another Armenian-Azerbaijani summit the Russian city of Saint Petersburg in June. Medvedev already hosted a meeting between Aliev and Sarkisian outside Moscow last November. In a joint declaration, the two leaders pledged to step up the prolonged search for peace but did not announce any concrete agreements.