by Marianna Mkrtchyan
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met in Sochi on Sunday.
The press service of the Russian President quotes Putin as saying in the beginning that the key goal of the meeting was to create an atmosphere for the parties to discuss ways to settle their conflict.
"There is an international format for solving this problem. We respect it and will help our colleagues in their work. But since we enjoy especially close relations, we can be sincere to each other concerning where we are and what we must do to solve the problems we have inherited from the past. I think this may be helpful. So, I am very glad to have this chance to meet with you and to discuss all these questions," Putin said.
Aliyev said that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been unsettled for much too long a time and must finally be resolved.
"I hope that your personal contribution will give a new stimulus to the negotiating process. As you have said, there is a format for the negotiations but there is also a legal basis for the settlement: the UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions requiring that the Armenian occupant forces urgently withdraw from Azerbaijan's territories. Unfortunately, over 20 years have passed but the resolutions are still on paper only. The Minsk Group is trying to bring the parties closer to each other but it is not very effective in its efforts. As our close friend and partner, Russia has a special role in the peace process. So, we hope that we will shortly be able to find a peaceful solution that will be fair and in line with the international law," Aliyev said.
Sargsyan thanked Putin for his attention to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem at such a hard time. "We highly appreciate this. We believe that the conflict can be settled and must be settled on the basis of a compromise and the principles offered by the Minsk Group co-chairs. The Azerbaijani party keeps referring to the UN four resolutions. So, I have a rhetorical question to Mr. Aliyev: which of the points of those resolutions has Azerbaijan fulfilled so far? The only party that fulfilled them was Armenia, who used its influence to stop the war. If today we go back to the early 1990s, we may see some good things but we may also face things that will prevent us from solving this problem. The good thing about that time was that we agreed that the conflict had no military solution, but if we resume blaming each other, we will once again prove unable to settle it soon," Sargsyan said, noting that Armenia is interested in settling the conflict.
In conclusion, Putin was glad to point out the fact that the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents realized the need to solve the problem peacefully. "This is the most important thing here as there is no bigger tragedy than human death. But we must realize that this is an old problem, a problem that we have inherited from the Soviet times. So, we must be patient, wise and respectful to one another so as to be able to solve it. Any problem can be resolved if there is a good will. I think both the Azerbaijani and the Armenian peoples have such a good will," Putin said.