Armenia, Azerbaijan in another Russia-hosted meeting on Karabakh

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has hosted yet another Armenian-Azeri summit on Nagorno-Karabakh, with the Kremlin reporting some progress made at the talks.

Armenia’s Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev were both visiting St. Petersburg at the end of this week to take part in a major international economic forum in the Russian city.

This was the sixth trilateral meeting of the parties in less than two years. The main discussions on Thursday evening reportedly focusing on “key problems of the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement” proceeded behind closed doors.

“The presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia have confirmed their readiness to continue dialogue aimed at completing the work on the document [Madrid principles] with the mediation of Russia, the United States and France as observers from the OSCE Minsk Group,” the Russian president’s press service said in a brief statement on the results of the meeting.

Senior Azerbaijani officials have been accusing Armenia of trying to foil the internationally mediated process lately. President Aliyev even threatened that Azerbaijan would quit the talks, implying that his country did not rule out a military scenario of solving the long-running dispute.

Armenia, meanwhile, has accused Azerbaijan of disregarding the main provisions of the peace plan proposed by the international mediators and known as Madrid principles.

The plan basically calls for an Armenian withdrawal from several districts now controlled by the Karabakh military, the return of Azerbaijani refugees, security guarantees for the Armenian population and an interim status for Karabakh with the possibility of a future determination of the region’s ultimate legal status.

Yerevan, in particular, berates Azerbaijan for its continuing war rhetoric and for rejecting, out of hand, the possibility of Karabakh’s independent status. For its part, Armenia rules out a future status of the disputed region within Azerbaijan.