Russia’s Putin to host talks between rivals Armenia, Azerbaijan

The Kremlin on Friday confirmed Russian President Vladimir Putin will host talks in Sochi on Monday between the leaders of arch-foes Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“On the initiative of the Russian side, tripartite negotiations between… Putin, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will be held on October 31 in Sochi,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars over the Nagorno-Karabakh region in three decades.

Deadly clashes in September along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border have raised fears of a fresh all-out conflict.
Russia said the trio planned to discuss the implementation of agreements reached in talks under Russia’s mediation last year, as well as “further steps to strengthen stability and security” in the Caucasus.

“Questions on rebuilding and developing trade and economic as well as transport links will also be discussed,” it said.

Moscow added that Putin will also hold talks with each of the leaders alone. The Russian leader, who sent troops to Ukraine in February, had invited the pair for a meeting earlier this month but the Kremlin had not given a date.

A six-week war in autumn 2020 claimed the lives of more than 6,500 troops from both sides. It ended with a Russian-brokered deal.

Pashinyan and Aliyev last met in Brussels for talks under the mediation of EU chief Charles Michel after the clashes in September.

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