Putin invites leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan for talks
Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan to Russia to discuss regional matters in the wake of recent tensions between Yerevan and Baku.
According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who confirmed the news on Monday, Moscow is concerned about the “alarming trends” in the region, “where the West is clearly trying to transfer the confrontational schemes tested in Ukraine.”
“Russian President [Vladimir] Putin invited the President of Azerbaijan [Ilham] Aliyev and Prime Minister of Armenia [Nikol] Pashinyan to Russia for the next trilateral summit, where it is planned to discuss a whole range of trilateral and bilateral issues,” Zakharova said in a statement.
Commenting on the process of bringing the decades-long conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan to an end, the spokeswoman accused the West of pursuing a “tactless and aggressive” approach.
“The true goals of Washington and Brussels are by no means the search for a compromise or balanced solutions, but self-promotion and squeezing Russia out of the South Caucasus,” Zakharova claimed.
The same approach, she added, can be seen in apparent “attempts by external forces to sow enmity between Moscow and Yerevan” and in their efforts “to discredit Russia’s policy in the region.”
The attempts by these “external forces” to ensure the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from Nagorno-Karabakh – a region that is at the center of the dispute between Yerevan and Baku – “are precisely aimed at destabilizing the South Caucasus,” Zakharova said.
Earlier this month, Putin proposed to hold a trilateral summit “anywhere and at any time: in Sochi, in St. Petersburg, in Moscow.” On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax that preparations for the summit were ongoing, with its date and location to be revealed in due course.
According to the Vedomosti newspaper, citing its own diplomatic source, the meeting might take place at the end of October, most likely in Sochi on Russia's Black Sea coast.
The last trilateral summit between Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan took place in November last year, also in Sochi.
Pashinyan and Aliyev held two meetings earlier this month in Prague with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and French leader Emmanuel Macron respectively.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have historically been at odds with one another over a number of issues, most prominently, the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. In 2020, the two nations fought a 44-day war over the territory, which ended with a Russian-brokered truce, ceding to Baku some areas previously controlled by Armenian-backed troops and the deployment of Russian peacekeepers to observe the agreement.
Tensions on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border escalated again in September this year, when dozens of people, both civilian and military personnel, were reportedly killed, with both sides blaming the violence on each other.