Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev next Tuesday for talks that should focus on the current impasse in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, it was announced on Friday.
A short statement by the Kremlin said the meeting will be held in Russia’s Black Sea city of Sochi. “The visit [by Aliyev] will take place at the invitation of the President of Russia,” the statement said without specifying its agenda.
Aliyev’s office did not immediately confirm the information.
The Sochi talks will come less than two months after Medvedev’s dramatic failure to broker a framework agreement to end the Karabakh conflict at the most recent Armenian-Azerbaijani summit held in another Russian city, Kazan.
Contrary to high international expectations, Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian did not overcome their remaining disagreements on the basic principles of a Karabakh settlement proposed by Russia and the two other mediating powers, the United States and France.
Medvedev subsequently presented Aliyev and Sarkisian with a set of unpublicized proposals aimed at salvaging the peace process. The content of their replies sent to the Russian president last month remains unknown.
It is not clear whether Sarkisian may also travel to Sochi in the coming days. His press office could not be reached for comment.
The Armenian leader is currently on vacation. According to unconfirmed news reports, he is spending it in Cyprus.
Medvedev commented on the Karabakh dispute in an interview with Russian and Georgia broadcasters on Thursday. The interview was dedicated to the third anniversary of the Russian-Georgian war in South Ossetia.
In Medvedev’s words, the five-day war taught Armenia and Azerbaijan a “very serious lesson.” He said both Sarkisian and Aliyev told him in 2008 that “it is better to hold endless negotiations about the fate of Nagorno-Karabakh, about whether there will ever be a referendum [on the territory’s status] there, about how to prepare a peace accord, than to go through five days of war.”
Some Azerbaijani pundits criticized the remarks on Friday, calling them a warning addressed to Baku.
“Instead of telling Armenia to liberate the occupied territories of Azerbaijan … Medvedev is threatening Azerbaijan with a repeat of the August  events,” Vafa Guluzade, a former senior aide to Aliyev’s late father and predecessor Heydar, was quoted by the Regnum news agency as saying.
Zardusht Alizade, a prominent Azerbaijani analyst, also claimed that Medvedev warned Baku that it could face “a repeat of the Georgian events.”