Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the tripartite talks that took place in Moscow on Monday with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan were constructive, noting that the parties signed a joint statement to continue negotiations and development in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
This came after a meeting in Moscow, the first between the Armenian Prime Minister and Aliyev since the signing of an agreement to cease hostilities in mid-November.
During the talks in which Putin participated, Pashinyan and Aliyev reached a joint declaration in which they agreed to continue negotiations.
The joint declaration, published on the Kremlin’s website, stipulates the formation of a tripartite working group aimed at ensuring “the resumption of economic exchanges and transportation in the region.” It also stipulates that the expert group will hold its first meeting before January 30th.
On Monday, Pashinyan stressed that “many issues” remained unresolved between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Karabakh, while Aliyev considered that the conflict had ended and had become a thing of the past.
In statements broadcast live on Russian television, Pashinyan said, “We have succeeded in establishing a ceasefire, but many issues still require a solution,” expressing his regret “for not settling the issue of prisoners of war.”
Think about the future
For his part, Aliyev stressed that the agreement was implemented “successfully”, and that “except for minor incidents,” there is “nothing to worry about,” adding, “All this makes us confident that the conflict in Karabakh has become a thing of the past and that we have to think about the future.”
An agreement to cease hostilities signed on November 9 under the auspices of Moscow put an end to the six-week conflict between Baku and Yerevan, and granted Azerbaijan field gains in the mountainous region of the Caucasus, which is disputed for decades.
And deployed a Russian peace-keeping force consisting of two thousand soldiers in Karabakh as part of the terms of the agreement. However, since November, several bloody incidents between Karabakh forces and the Azerbaijani army have threatened the agreement.
On Monday, Putin indicated that more than 22,000 explosive devices have been dismantled by Russian demining teams since their deployment. He added that Moscow had transported 800 tons of building materials to the region.
“Our tripartite agreements are gradually progressing, and we are convinced that this creates the conditions for a complete solution to the conflict in the long term,” Putin said during Monday’s talks in Moscow.
“The situation is now calm in the region,” he added, referring to the return of 48,000 refugees who fled the fighting to Karabakh since the agreement entered into force.
Renewed fighting between September and November resulted in the deaths of more than 6,000 people, including dozens of civilians.