Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev praised Russia’s ongoing efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict when he met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Baku on Monday.
“I would like to emphasize Russia’s role in the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” he said in his opening remarks at the talks cited by the RIA Novosti news agency.
Aliyev pointed in that regard to his most recent meeting with President Serzh Sarkisian which was hosted by Putin in Saint Petersburg on June 20. “I want to thank you for your active personal involvement in this process,” he told Putin.
In a joint statement with Putin issued in Saint Petersburg, Aliyev and Sarkisian said they reached “understandings” on unspecified issues hampering a Karabakh settlement. This fueled media speculation that Russia is pressing the two warring sides hard to iron out their differences.
Putin insisted ahead of his trip to Azerbaijan that Moscow is not trying to “impose” a peace deal on Baku and Yerevan. Meeting with Aliyev, he similarly called for a “compromise solution acceptable to both sides.”
Putin is scheduled to meet with Sarkisian in Moscow on Wednesday. The Karabakh issue is widely expected to dominate the talks.
Visiting Baku on July 12, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared that Armenia and Azerbaijan are now closer to resolving the Karabakh dispute than ever before.