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Putin Discusses Karabakh With Pashinian, Aliyev


RUSSIA -- Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club via a video conference call at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, October 22, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin had telephone conversations with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on November 1 and November 2, respectively, according to the Kremlin.

“Issues of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were thoroughly discussed,” a short statement released by the Russian president’s office said.

On October 31, Pashinian sent a letter to Putin in which, invoking a 1997 treaty with Russia, he formally asked Moscow “to define types and amount of assistance” that it can provide to Armenia. Pashinian said that the fighting between ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan that broke out in late September was approaching the country’s borders and that some encroachments on the territory of the Republic of Armenia have already taken place.

In response to the letter the same day, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirmed Moscow’s commitment to Armenia under the 1997 Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, saying that “Russia will render all necessary assistance to Yerevan if military operations take place directly on the territory of Armenia.”

At the same time, the Russian ministry again called on the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to halt military operations immediately, deescalate the situation and return to “substantive negotiations” to achieve a peaceful settlement.

Earlier, the Armenian prime minister also signaled Yerevan’s agreement to the deployment of Russian peacekeepers in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, but said that such a move would require the consent of all parties to the conflict.

Meanwhile, President Aliyev on Monday called on Russia to maintain neutrality in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh given its status as an international mediator.

According to Interfax-Azerbaijan, while receiving in Baku Secretary-General of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States Baghdad Amreyev, Aliyev said: “The prime minister of Armenia has sent a letter to the president of the Russian Federation, asking for military support. This is completely unacceptable. And there are absolutely no grounds for that, because we are conducting actions in our territory, we are defeating the enemy in our lands, freeing them from the Armenian occupation, while we do not attack the territory of Armenia.”

Aliyev went on to say that as a co-chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group Russia is supposed to maintain a neutral position on this issue, which he said is stipulated by the mandate of the OSCE, whose Minsk Group co-chairmanship also includes the United States and France.

The war in Nagorno-Karabakh broke out on September 27, with the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides accusing each other of unleashing the hostilities.

Diplomatic efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries to stop the bloodshed have failed so far. Three humanitarian ceasefire agreements brokered separately by Moscow, Paris and Washington on October 10, 17 and 26 collapsed within hours, with both sides blaming the other for not respecting the deals.

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