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Putin to host Armenian, Azerbaijani leaders for talks

| Local News | Fox News

Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders for talks

MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin received the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan on Friday for talks aimed at resolving tensions over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

In the southern city of Sochi, Putin held a bilateral meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. After that, the Russian president was to meet Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, and then have a separate bilateral meeting with Pashinyan.

Armenia and Azerbaijan are locked in a decades-old dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, an area which is in Azerbaijan but which had been under the control of Armenian ethnic forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.

The Azerbaijani army routed Armenian forces during 44 days of fierce fighting in the fall of 2020, which ended with a Russian-brokered peace deal that saw Azerbaijan take control of a important part of Nagorno-Karabakh and recover all areas controlled by Armenian forces. outside the separatist region.

Russia has deployed nearly 2,000 peacekeepers for at least five years to monitor the peace agreement.

The peace deal was celebrated as a triumph in Azerbaijan, but was seen as a betrayal by the opposition in Armenia. Pashinyan defended it as the only way to prevent Armenian forces from losing control of the entire Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan resumed in May and border clashes have been reported on several occasions since then. Some of them have claimed many lives on both sides.

In a meeting with Aliyev on Friday, Putin admitted that the problems in the region still exist. “Unfortunately, there are problems, there are incidents. Unfortunately, they are still not without casualties, ”said the Russian leader.

“But that’s why we come together – to see what has been done and what needs to be done by everyone so that not only does nothing like this happen, but the conditions are created to calm the situation down.” and ensure that people can “live calmly” in the region, Putin added.

Aliyev said the clashes at the border have been “sporadic” and do not constitute a “systemic crisis”. Yet, Aliyev said, the three-way talks are needed to find ways to “control the risks, minimize them”.

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