Russian and Turkish Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan have agreed to set up a working group on Karabakh conflict resolution, mass media report. Earlier the head of the Russian Federation discussed the Karabakh issue directly with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin form a working group on Karabakh conflict resolution during a telephone conversation on November 7, CNN Turk reports citing a diplomatic source.
According to journalists, Putin welcomed the Turkish leader’s proposal. As noted on the TV channel, negotiations on the settlement of the Karabakh crisis may switch to a bilateral format in the coming days – it will operate outside the OSCE Minsk Group.
According to CNN Turk, the new group will work on post truce measures necessary for the political settlement process. After talks between Erdogan and Putin, the heads of foreign ministries of both countries also reportedly held telephone talks.
According to the Kremlin’s press service, the two sides confirmed their mutual readiness to work together to achieve a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
Earlier this month Putin discussed the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in telephone conversations with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. The talks were held on November 1 and 2. “Issues related to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were discussed in detail,” the Kremlin press service stressed.
Shortly before that, Aliyev noted that Russia had no reason to participate in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Thus, he commented on Pashinyan’s request to Putin to hold consultations to help ensure the security of Armenian territory.
During a meeting with the Turkish delegation headed by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, the President of Azerbaijan drew attention to Pashinyan’s letter to Moscow which, he said, shows that Yerevan has already admitted its defeat, Azernews reports.
“This letter, in fact, is an acknowledgment of defeat, as Russia was asked for military support, although there are no legal grounds for that. Azerbaijan is conducting its military operation on the territory of Azerbaijan, which is recognized by the international community,” Aliyev said.
The President of Azerbaijan implied that the conflict in Karabakh does not fall under the agreement between Moscow and Yerevan within the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
Besides, it was mentioned that Nagorno-Karabakh is mentioned as the territory of Azerbaijan in UN resolutions.
“No operations are conducted on the territory of Armenia, and we have no such plans. If we had such plans, we could do it in July. As you know, Armenia attacked us on the state border at that time and we threw it out of our lands without crossing into its territory,” Aliyev explained.
In his address to Putin, which became known on October 31, Pashinyan referred to the second clause of the “Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between Russia and Armenia” of 1997. It is a document on protecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and security of Russia and Armenia, as well as Moscow’s comprehensive assistance to Yerevan. However, it only mentions the threat of an attack on Armenian territory, not on Nagorno-Karabakh.
“The Russian authorities and President Putin have repeatedly stated that Russia will fulfill its obligations to Armenia to ensure its security if necessary,” Pashinyan said in an interview with Qatar’s Al Jazeera TV channel.
The Russian Foreign Ministry assured that Moscow would help Yerevan, but only if the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict moves to the territory of Russia’s ally.
On October 22 Putin stated that with regard to the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh Russia takes such a position that would allow enjoying the trust of both sides. He pointed out that Russia has always had special relations not only with Armenia but also with Azerbaijan.