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Putin, Erdogan Discuss Karabakh As Armenian-Azerbaijani Fighting Rages On


Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) attend a joint news conference following Russian-Turkish talks in the Black sea resort of Sochi, Russia, October 22, 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh in a telephone call that took place on November 7, the Kremlin and the Turkish leader’s administration said.

According to Reuters, the Turkish leader told Putin that “Armenia must be convinced to negotiate in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan and called for a peaceful resolution.”

According to a report released by the Turkish presidential administration, “Erdogan told Putin that the Armenian forces must withdraw from Azerbaijani territories and the Armenian leadership must be persuaded to sit down at the negotiating table.”

Quoting the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Reuters reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also held a phone call with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Earlier on Saturday in another phone call President Putin discussed the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh with French President Emmanuel Macron.

The Russian and French leaders reportedly expressed serious concern over the large-scale clashes between ethnic Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the region and the involvement of fighters from Syria and Libya in the conflict.

According to the Kremlin, Putin and Macron said they would continue coordinated mediation efforts, including through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group, an international mediation format set up in 1992 and led jointly by Russia, the United States and France.

The diplomatic activity came amid reports of continued heavy fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone where Azerbaijani forces were reportedly closing in on a strategic town of Shushi (Shusha) in the heart of the region.

Armenian Defense Ministry representative Artsrun Hovhannisian confirmed late on Saturday that fierce battles were taking place in the vicinity of the town sitting on a mountaintop some 10 kilometers south of the region’s capital Stepanakert.

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