Putin invites Aliyev and Pashinyan to Russia amid Western mediating efforts
Russia stepped up initiatives to mediate a peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in an effort to undermine the latest Western attempts of pioneering a permanent peace agreement to stabilise the Caucasus region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to Russia to hold talks over a peace deal, Trend News Agency reported on Friday.
The invite just came after Armenian Security Council Secretary Armen Grigoryan’s announcement saying that the two countries agreed to sign a peace agreement by the end of the year, praising the United States’ “active engagement.”
The European Union which is also mediating talks between Yerevan and Baku, has deployed an advanced team to the region in the request of Armenia on Friday, to monitor the situation.
Azerbaijan and Armenia embroiled in six weeks of fighting in autumn 2020, also known as the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War, a disputed region between the two Caucasian countries since 1990’s. The conflict ended with a truce agreement brokered by Russia in November 2020.
In September, Azerbaijan escalated military tensions with Armenia, violating the ceasefire deal. Armenia accused Azerbaijan for shelling Armenian positions on the border, using large-caliber weapons, artillery, missile systems, and UAVs and occupying ten square kilometers of Armenian sovereign territory, while Azerbaijan said it has taken “retaliatory” measures against Armenia’s “provocations.” As a result of Azerbaijani aggression, 207 Armenian soldiers have been killed, according to Armenian official figures. Azerbaijan announced 71 military casualties.
"I am pleased to invite President of Azerbaijan and Prime Minister of Armenia. Both countries need to agree on a date and meet in Russia at any place, any time, in Sochi, in Saint Petersburg, or in Moscow," Putin said.
The Russian leader conveyed the invitations to Aliyev and Pashinyan during a meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the CIS in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, Trend News Agency said.
Putin reminded that he repeatedly held meetings in a trilateral format with both leaders, it said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday also invited his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts to discuss implementation of agreements reached by the presidents of the three countries in 2020 and 2021 so that to understand better "how to proceed," TASS said.