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Armenian, Azeri Leaders Set For New Meeting


Russia -- President Dmitry Medvedev (L), with his Armenian and Azrbaijani counterparts Serzh Sarkisian (C) and Ilham Aliyev tour the Krasnaya Polyana ski resort in Sochi, 25Jan2009

Russia -- President Dmitry Medvedev (L), with his Armenian and Azrbaijani counterparts Serzh Sarkisian (C) and Ilham Aliyev tour the Krasnaya Polyana ski resort in Sochi, 25Jan2009

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will likely host fresh talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts this week, official Yerevan announced on Wednesday.


President Serzh Sarkisian’s office said the talks would take place on the sidelines of an international economic forum in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg scheduled for June 17-19. It said Sarkisian will be among foreign dignitaries attending the forum.

“A trilateral meeting of the presidents of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan is envisaged within the framework of the conference,” the office said in a statement. No further details were reported.

Neither the Kremlin, nor the Azerbaijani government made any announcements to that effect as of late Wednesday.

The most recent talks between Sarkisian and Azerbaijan’s Ilham 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 also said he plans no fresh face-to-face meetings with Sarkisian “anytime soon.”

Official Yerevan has yet to publicly clarify its position on what the American, Russian and French mediators call an “updated version” of their basic principles of a Karabakh settlement put forward late last year. Armenian officials have instead questioned Azerbaijan’s stated acceptance of the document.
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