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SOCHI, August 10. /ITAR-TASS/. The presidents of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan may meet in Sochi on Sunday to discuss the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly Armenian populated territory which has been a source of dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan since 1991.
The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh aggravated seriously in late July - early August. Both sides repeatedly violated the ceasefire, incurring human casualties. Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said 13 Azerbaijani servicemen had been killed and some other had been wounded. No one knows exactly about the losses suffered by the Armenian side.
The Russian president’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, told journalists that a trilateral meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliev might take place.
“We are not ruling out that such a meeting may be held,” Peskov said.
The three leaders already visited a combat sambo tournament in Sochi on Saturday evening.
The Armenian president’s press secretary, Narik Nikogosyan, also confirmed that the trilateral meeting was likely to take place.
The situation in Nagorno-Karabkh will apparently become central to the talks. Presidents Aliev and Sargsyan discussed the problem at bilateral negotiations with Putin in Sochi on Saturday.
“All the parties expressed concern with the growing tensions and the recent incidents (in Nagorno-Karabakh) which resulted in loss of life, which can be said to be numerous,” Peskov said. He described the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh as unquiet and unstable.
Putin told his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts that Nagorno-Karabakh was a vital issue on the agenda as he discussed the old and sore problem with both presidents.
President Aliev said the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict had protracted for too long and it was time for it to be resolved. His Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan described the recent events in the region as intentional escalation of tensions on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border that led to armed clashes.
Russia has never linked the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh to its trade and economic cooperation with Armenia or Azerbaijan. President Putin has repeatedly called for settling the conflict. “We wish that the blood of neither Armenian nor Azerbaijani citizens would ever spill again in this region, which is so close to Russian borders and has such close ties with Russia,” President Putin said in December 2013.
Putin pledged that Russia would do everything to find a political settlement to the conflict in its capacity as co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group for Nagorno-Karabakh.
“We do hope that both sides will demonstrate common sense and desire to reach a settlement,” the Russian president stressed.