ST. PETERSBURG, June 20. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s talks with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts, Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev, are not going to be smooth, Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.
"Naturally, the talks will be difficult. The key task now is to secure that combat operations are not resumed, not to let the progress reached by the moment of violence outbreak around Nagorno-Karabakh be lost," he told journalists. "So, the working day promises to be very busy and hard."
According to Peskov, separate talks with the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents will be followed by a trilateral meeting and a working lunch.
The situation along the contact line of conflicting sides in Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan, deteriorated dramatically overnight to April 2 when fierce clashes began. The parties to the conflict accused each other of violating the truce. At a meeting of chiefs of General Staff of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Moscow an agreement was reached on the ceasefire from noon local time (0800GMT) on April 5. Since then, the sides have reported ceasefire violations along the contact line.
The participants of talks on Nagorno-Karabakh in Vienna on May 16 involving the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia and mediated by the foreign ministers from the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries (Russia, the United States and France) agreed to observe ceasefire in the region in compliance with the 1994-1995 accords. The parties to the conflict also agreed to complete as soon as possible the work on an OSCE tool on investigating incidents on the contact line.
The conflict between neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up but was mainly populated by Armenians, broke out in the late 1980s.
In 1991-1994, the confrontation spilled over into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and some adjacent territories. Thousands left their homes on both sides in a conflict that killed 30,000. A truce was called between Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh republic on one side and Azerbaijan on the other in May 1994.