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Putin seems to reassert function in talks with Armenia, Azerbaijan

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin will host talks with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan on Monday, as Moscow seeks to reassert its function as a key powerbroker between the Caucasus arch-foes.
The talks within the southern Russian metropolis of Sochi will probably be held amid the rising Western engagement within the unstable Caucasus area, the place Russia — distracted by its struggle in Ukraine — is visibly dropping affect after a long time of domination.
It’s going to come a month after the worst clashes between the 2 international locations since their struggle in 2020.
The places of work of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev mentioned that they had each arrived in Sochi for the assembly.
The Kremlin mentioned the talks will give attention to implementing agreements reached in talks below Russia’s mediation final yr and “additional steps to strengthen stability and safety” within the area.
Putin may even maintain talks with every chief alone, Moscow mentioned.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars — in 2020 and within the Nineties — over Azerbaijan’s Armenian populated area of Nagorno-Karabakh.
A six-week struggle in autumn 2020 which claimed the lives of greater than 6,500 troops on either side ended with a Russian-brokered deal that noticed Yerevan cede swathes of territory that it had managed for a number of a long time.
Final month, 286 individuals from either side have been killed in clashes which have jeopardised a sluggish and halting peace course of.
The hostilities ended with a US-brokered ceasefire, after earlier failed makes an attempt by Russia to barter a truce.
With Moscow more and more remoted on the world stage following its February invasion of Ukraine, the US and the EU have taken a number one function in mediating the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace talks.
EU chief Charles Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron hosted talks between Pashinyan and Aliyev in Brussels in August.
Following a slew of diplomatic efforts from Brussels and Washington, Armenian and Azerbaijani international ministers met on October 3 in Geneva to start drafting the textual content of a future peace treaty.
Russia and EU leaders have traded criticism of their mediation efforts within the Karabakh battle, with Moscow and Paris particularly exchanging jabs this month.
Putin not too long ago dismissed a remark by Macron who mentioned that Moscow was “destabilising” a peace course of between the 2 international locations.
“Russia has all the time sincerely sought to resolve any conflicts, together with points associated to Karabakh,” Putin mentioned earlier this month.
Moscow has historically acted as a middle-man between the 2 international locations, which have been each a part of the Soviet Union.
The 2020 ceasefire settlement noticed Russia deploy a pressure of two,000 peacekeepers to the area to supervise a fragile truce.
Forward of the talks, Armenia’s Pashinyan mentioned he was prepared to increase their presence by as much as one other twenty years.
“I’m ready to signal a doc in Sochi extending the peacekeepers’ mandate for 10, 15 or 20 years,” Pashinyan mentioned.
Russia’s peacekeeping mission has been criticised by some, with even Pashinyan elevating considerations concerning the pressure, in uncommon Armenian criticism of its ally.
The EU has introduced a “civilian EU mission” to Armenia to watch ceasefire violations.
Aliyev has vowed to repopulate Karabakh with Azerbaijanis and not too long ago re-opened an airport within the conquered territories.
Baku’s ally Turkey has additionally superior its efforts to be concerned in mediation, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan assembly each Aliyev and Pashinyan not too long ago in Prague.
The Kremlin mentioned the trio would additionally talk about “questions on rebuilding and growing commerce and financial in addition to transport hyperlinks”.
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan. The following battle claimed round 30,000 lives.

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