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Russia cautiously optimistic about Karabakh settlement – FM

MOSCOW, January 19 (Itar-Tass) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that Russia was cautiously optimistic about the Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement.

Speaking at a press conference, the foreign minister said “a most wide range of issues will be discussed” during his visit to Azerbaijan, scheduled for February 2. Focusing on the agenda, Lavrov emphasized that the sides will discuss “bilateral Russian-Azerbaijani cooperation, embracing all sides of the life of our countries”.

He also said they would pave the way for a visit to Russia by Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliyev, scheduled for the second half of December. The future talks will also focus on “CIS issues and the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”.

The Russian foreign minister said that positive trends towards the settlement of the Karabakh conflict took shape after a meeting of Ilkham Aliyev and Armenian President Robert Kocharyan in Astana, where they also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He said Armenian and Azerbaijani officials maintain contacts as concerns the settlement in the mostly Armenian populated Azerbaijani enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

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