Putin appears to be like to reassert position 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 position as a key powerbroker between the Caucasus arch-foes.
The talks within the southern Russian metropolis of Sochi will likely 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 will come a month after the worst clashes between the 2 nations since their struggle in 2020.
The places of work of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated they’d each arrived in Sochi for the assembly.
The Kremlin stated the talks will give attention to implementing agreements reached in talks beneath Russia’s mediation final 12 months and “additional steps to strengthen stability and safety” within the area.
Putin will even maintain talks with every chief alone, Moscow stated.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars — in 2020 and within the Nineteen 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.
Last month, 286 individuals from either side had 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 position 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 lately dismissed a remark by Macron who stated that Moscow was “destabilising” a peace course of between the 2 nations.
“Russia has all the time sincerely sought to resolve any conflicts, together with points associated to Karabakh,” Putin stated earlier this month.
Moscow has historically acted as a middle-man between the 2 nations, which had been each a part of the Soviet Union.
The 2020 ceasefire settlement noticed Russia deploy a drive of two,000 peacekeepers to the area to supervise a fragile truce.
Ahead of the talks, Armenia’s Pashinyan stated 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 stated.
Russia’s peacekeeping mission has been criticised by some, with even Pashinyan elevating considerations in regards to the drive, in uncommon Armenian criticism of its ally.
The EU has introduced a “civilian EU mission” to Armenia to observe ceasefire violations.
Aliyev has vowed to repopulate Karabakh with Azerbaijanis and lately 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 lately in Prague.
The Kremlin stated the trio would additionally focus on “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 ensuing battle claimed round 30,000 lives.