The Kremlin does not expect a significant breakthrough in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement after a trilateral meeting between the Presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia Dmitry Medvedev, Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan, to be held in St. Petersburg today, but expects to use this opportunity to enhance a direct dialogue between the interested parties, Assistant Head of Russia Sergei Prikhodko said, ITAR-TASS reported.
"First, Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents will meet on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement, and this will be the fifth round of the direct negotiations, started on June 6, 2008, in the days of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum," he said. "Then President Medvedev will hold separate meetings with Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan, and in the evening, the Russian president has invited his counterparts to hold a trilateral meeting," Prikhodko said, adding that it will be in the format of a business dinner.
"Of course, the other issues will include the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement, where Russia is seeking to play a positive role," the Russian president's assistant said. "But we do not set a supreme task to reach a new agreement or deepen the discussion of the details of this process," he said. "We aim to support the format of the direct communication of Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia, the dialogue which is held between them at the moment," he said.
Speaking about the agenda of Medvedev's separate meeting with Aliyev, Prikhodko stressed that the leaders will exchange views on ways of maintaining high rates of economic cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan in the global economic crisis. "They also will examine bilateral cooperation in energy, including the prospects of implementing joint energy projects," Prikhodko said. He called the Caspian issue among other topical issues.
Topic of Medvedev's meeting with Sargsyan also include, above all, the issues of further development of trade and economic cooperation, including in overcoming the consequences of the global financial crisis, Assistant to the President said. "Implementation of projects of the Russian leading corporations, such as Gazprom, Russian Railways and Russian Aluminum in Armenia is expected to mitigate its negative impact on bilateral economic relations," Prikhodko said.
It is expected that the heads of states will discuss the situations in the Caucasus region, besides the topical issues of the bilateral relations and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement.
Previous trilateral meeting among Medvedev, Aliyev and Sargyan, which was held in November 2008 ended with the signing of the Declaration of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia, which reaffirmed the focus on achieving a political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of international law, support the mediation efforts of OSCE Minsk Group and the agreement of Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents to intensify the negotiating process. Russia's basic position in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement is not to impose on parties to the conflict any prescriptions from outside, and regarding this the primary responsibility for the final choice should rest with the Azerbaijanis and Armenians themselves. At the same time Russia is prepared to support a solution to the problem, which satisfies all parties involved, but it will be the guarantor of the settlement, if a compromise agreement is not reached.