Putin said that his trilateral meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev was “very useful” because it created a “very good atmosphere for possible future agreements on some key issues.”
“Today we agreed on a joint statement,” he said after the meeting held in the Russian city of Sochi. “I must say frankly that not everything was agreed.”
“Some things had to be taken out of the text worked out beforehand at the level of experts,” he added without elaborating.
In that statement, Aliyev and Pashinian said they “agreed to refrain from the use of force or the threat of its use and discuss and resolve all problematic issues solely on the basis of mutual recognition of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders.”
“On the basis of existing proposals, it was agreed to continue the search for mutually acceptable solutions,” said the statement. “The Russian Federation will render all possible assistance to this.”
Neither Aliyev nor Pashinian made public statements right after the summit preceded by their separate talks with Putin.
The Sochi summit underscored Russian efforts to regain the initiative in the Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiating process which has been coordinated by the United States and the European Union in recent months. Moscow has been very critical of the Western mediation, saying that it is aimed at “squeezing Russia out of the South Caucasus.”
In remarks that caused a stir in Armenia, Putin claimed last week that the U.S. has put forward an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty that would commit Yerevan to recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan. He implied that Moscow favors a different deal that would keep Karabakh’s status unresolved.
Meeting with Putin earlier on Monday, Pashinian said he supports “the Russian draft of basic principles and parameters” of the peace accord.
“I hope that you will support the [Armenian] proposal to refer to this document in the text of today's possible trilateral statement following our trilateral meeting,” he said.
The statement issued late in the evening contains no such reference.
Aliyev reiterated, meanwhile, that Azerbaijan’s victory in the 2020 war with Armenia put an end to the Karabakh conflict. “So there is practically nothing to discuss in this context,” he told Putin.
Aliyev also said that the peace treaty must be based on five elements proposed by Baku earlier this year. They include mutual recognition of territorial integrity.
Pashinian has repeatedly stated that the Azerbaijani proposals are acceptable to Yerevan in principle, fuelling allegations by his domestic political foes that he is intent on helping Baku regain full control over Karabakh.