YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia are scheduled to meet in Sochi on Jan. 25 to discuss the Karabakh peace process, sources close to the talks indicated Wednesday.
The proposed meeting between presidents Serzh Sarkisian, Ilham Aliyev and Dmitry Medvedev was being planned under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group, whose Russian, US and French co-chairs began a tour of the region Wednesday.
In Yerevan, President Serzh Sarkisian met with Co-Chairs Yuri Merzlyakov (Russia), Bernard Fassier (France), and Robert Bradtke (United States), as well as the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk. Present at the meeting was also the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Eduard Nalbandian.
The sides discussed the latest developments in the Karabakh peace process and the agenda for the upcoming presidential summit.
This follows a meeting between Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian Sunday with Bradke who was in Stepanakert to talk to local leaders.
The security and independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic are not subject to negotiations, Sahakian told Bradke.
Sahakian was quoted by his press office as telling Bradke that “the conflict can not be settled in the absence of a direct dialogue between Azerbaijan and Artsakh.” The Karabakh leader also denounced Azerbaijan’s “bellicose rhetoric” and said Karabakh’s “independence and security are not subject to speculations and haggling.”
“Any attempt to ignore these facts will make a comprehensive settlement of the conflict impossible,” Sahakian said.
“As part of my own preparations for those meetings, I thought it was important to come to Karabakh to hear the views of the people of Karabakh and the authorities in Karabakh,” Bradtke told journalists after talks with the Sahakian.
He said the United States is determined to push the negotiating process further forward this year. “I can assure all of you that the United States will be working very hard in this new year to see that the people of Karabakh can have a future of peace and stability and prosperity,” he said.
Bradtke underscored Washington’s support for a peaceful settlement of the conflict, ruling out as unacceptable a military solution to the nearly two-decade long dispute.