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On January 11th, a meeting took place in Moscow, between Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
Azerbaijani media have already dubbed this meeting historic.
The leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia, who arrived in Moscow on the morning of January 11th, are meeting for the first time since the end of the war.
The previous meeting between Aliyev and Pashinyan took place in February 2020.
The video below shows Aliyev arriving:
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan also came out of his basement and arrived in Moscow:
About 30 demonstrators protesting against Pashinyan came to the Armenian embassy in Moscow, and about 15 police officers were on duty.
The protesters presented a signed petition with the following requirements: resignation and promulgation of all transactions and agreements with Baku.
After initial greetings, all three sat at an oval table at a distance from each other. The Russian leader thanked his colleagues for their willingness to discuss the implementation of the trilateral agreement on Karabakh and further steps to resolve problems in the region.
“I would like to thank you, dear colleagues, for your positive response to the active mediation efforts undertaken by the Russian side, which were aimed at helping to stop the bloodshed, stabilize the situation and achieve a sustainable ceasefire,” Putin said.
In his welcoming speech Putin said the following:
- It is necessary to settle issues related to the activities of the Russian peacekeeping contingent, clarification of demarcation lines, solution of humanitarian problems, protection of cultural heritage sites.
- Unblocking of economic, trade and transport links in the region, opening of borders deserves special attention.
After Putin’s welcome speech, the live broadcast of the meeting ended.
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The governments of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan will set up a dedicated task force headed by their deputy prime ministers for dealing with the opening of the presently-closed borders in the region and the unblocking of economic, commercial and transport communications
Putin said that “the prerequisites for a comprehensive settlement of the long-standing Karabakh conflict have been created”. Reconstruction in Karabakh will be dealt by a trilateral working group led by the vice-premiers of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
- As of January 11, a total of 48,241 people returned to Karabakh with the assistance of Russian peacekeepers;
- As of January 11, Russia reported that more than 479.2 hectares of land and about 182.8 kilometers of roads were cleared from mines and IEDs and 23,000 explosive objects were found and destroyed;
- As of January 11, Russian military medics provided assistance to 1,200 residents of Nagorno-Karabakh, including 153 children;
- One January 9, the head of the National Security Service of Armenia met with his Azerbaijani counterpart on the border of Armenia with Nakhichevan. They discussed the exchange of prisoners;
- One January 11, bodies of 14 more Armenian servicemen killed in Karabakh were found, according to the State Service of Emergency Situations of Artsakh;
- As of January 11, 1211 bodies have been retrieved from the battle zone, according to the State Service of Emergency Situations of Artsakh.
Thanks to the Russia-mediated ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the situation there was mostly de-escalated. The deployment of the Russian peacekeeping force on the contact line between the warrying side allowed to prevent further large-scale clashes and guarantee the return of civilians to the region. This set conditions for the humanitarian aid operation and demining works there.
Despite these developments, strategically, the situation is still complicated as the formal status of the Nagorno-Karabakh region remains unresolved. The Armenians still hope to get some kind of an independent Armenian state there, while Baku insists that Nagorno-Karabakh is the integral part of Azerbaijan. This situation is further complicated by the threat of ethnic cleansing of the Armenian population there. An overwhelming majority of Armenians fled the part of the region captured by Azerbaijani forces fearing the ethnic-motivated violence. Now, most of the Armenians remaining in Nagorno-Karabakh live in the areas secured by the Russian peacekeepers.
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