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PUTIN: MOSCOW READY TO ACT AS INTERMEDIARY IN SOLUTION OF CONFLICTS IN THE SOUTH CAUCASUS

MOSCOW, January 11 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will act in the settlement of Karabakh conflict and relations between Turkey and Armenia only as an intermediary, stated Vladimir Putin during a meeting with Turkish businessmen in Moscow.

Answering a question posed by the Turkish media, the Russian President announced that during the meeting the sides did not discuss the Karabakh problem. “We touched upon general issues of relations between countries in the region – Russia and Armenia, Armenia and Turkey,” Mr. Putin said.

Both sides, he stated, expressed the desire to establish friendly relations among neighbors.

“Russia will do everything possible to settle the conflicts remaining on the post-Soviet space, including the long-lasting Karabakh conflict,” Mr. Putin announced. “However, we will do it only as an intermediary and guarantor of agreements which are going to be reached by conflicting sides.”

The ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which has been lasting for more than ten years, and the involvement of international intermediaries in the framework of the OSCE Minsk group did not bring the sides any closer to the final solution of the conflict. Baku insists on the primacy of territorial integrity, the return of self-proclaimed Nagorny-Karabakh republic to the jurisdiction of Azerbaijan and the withdrawal of Armenian (occupation) forces.

The Turkish Prime Minister, in his turn, called for future improvement of relations with Armenia.

He reminded that Turkey has already opened the Istanbul airport for flights from Armenia. The land border is still closed and its opening will depend on the progress of negotiations between the two countries, the Turkish Prime Minister underlined.

He stressed that Turkey was interested in the development of relations with Armenia. “We do not wish to have resentful neighbors,” he stated.

The Armenian authorities demand that Ankara officially apologize for the genocide of Armenianpeople (according to Yerevan) committed by the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

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