President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues,
To conclude our trilateral meeting, I would like to thank again my colleagues, the President of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia, for agreeing to come to Russia today and to discuss the situation taking shape in the region in general and as regards the settlement of the Karabakh problem.
I should say from the start that our talks today were very constructive. It was an in-depth analysis of the current situation. We gave credit to the efforts of the Russian peacekeepers, border guards and those specialists who conduct mine clearing and ensure people’s return to their homes.
I also want to stress that we agreed on a number of issues which I consider vital. The first of them is the establishment of mechanisms for border demarcation and delimitation between the two states, and we agreed to complete this work by the end of the year. I hope it will happen as soon as possible. There are no obstacles to establishing such mechanisms.
Second, I would like to mention a very important and sensitive point related to humanitarian issues, and we have also made good progress here.
Finally, we held an in-depth discussion on economic issues, on developing economic ties, and spoke about unblocking transport corridors as the first step. This concerns both railway and road traffic.
I think we ought to thank our deputy prime ministers who have been working on this issue for a long time, and we agreed that next week they will meet in Moscow to sum up some of the results and announce the decisions we approved today.
Thank you very much once again for today’s work. I want to thank both the President of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much, Mr President.
To begin with, let me once again express my gratitude for today’s meeting as well as for your efforts to create a favourable atmosphere in resolving issues between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
A year has passed since the trilateral Statement put an end to the war between the two countries, and we generally view this year as a positive one. I would like to use this opportunity to thank you again, Mr President, and the Russian Defence Ministry for the peacekeeping efforts in Karabakh. There have been no serious incidents in the zone of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping forces.
There have been many important events during this year. This is our second meeting in this format; the first one was held at the beginning of the year and this one is to finish the year. I do not want to repeat what the President of Russia said about delimitation, demarcation and unblocking of transport arteries. Today we have had a very detailed and I would say sincere talk on all these issues. We openly discussed our plans that cause concern of both parties, and I think the key is that the decisions we made regarding settling arguments and disputes will contribute to making the situation in the South Caucasus safer and more predictable.
Also, as the President of Russia noted, humanitarian issues were discussed. Azerbaijan always consistently advocated the observance of all humanitarian norms, be it during hostilities or afterwards. I must say that after the hostilities ended, over 100 Armenian servicemen were returned to Armenia, including one today who had been wounded and was treated by Azerbaijani doctors, as well as a civilian who got lost on our territory. It means we have always proceeded from the primacy of the principle of humanism and we are set to proceed in that direction. We see the same commitment from the Armenian side to build conditions for the situation in the region to be more predictable.
I repeatedly said that we in Azerbaijan are ready to turn the page after many years of confrontation with Armenia and start the stage of normal interaction. I think in this format we are approaching our goals. Russia is a friend and strategic partner for Azerbaijan, I would even say, more than a strategic partner, and the level of trust-based relations between Azerbaijan and Russia also contributed to finding a solution to the most sensitive issues with Armenia.
I think our meeting will yield good results, which will be visible very soon and the situation in the region will become safer and more predictable.
Mr President, thank you again for the invitation and for today’s meeting.
Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan: Mr President, allow me to thank you again for the invitation and, of course, for creating a positive working atmosphere.
I want to stress that we had a very positive meeting, a positive conversation. We discussed practically all the issues on the agenda. It was not a meeting meant to conceal problems. It was a meeting where we openly discussed all issues. I want to note that it is very positive that we clarified our positions and it turned out that we do not have disagreements on some issues which seemed to exist prior to the meeting.
I want to say that indeed, regarding reopening of all transport and economic routes in the region we stated that we have a common understanding of how the routes will operate.
The topic of delimitation, demarcation and the start of this process is not new, and we discussed it as well. We also adopted a trilateral Statement, which says that conditions need to be established for that, which means some sort of security and stability mechanisms on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan must be created.
Obviously, humanitarian issues were also discussed.
I generally hold a very positive view of today’s talks and today’s meeting. I want to thank our strategic ally, the Russian Federation, for the initiative. I think that if our talks gain momentum based on this meeting, we can expect real results.
I reaffirm the readiness of Armenia and the Government of Armenia, which got its mandate from the people of Armenia, to usher in the era of peaceful development for our country and for our region. We are committed to that and today’s meeting clearly contributed to the implementation of this agenda.
Vladimir Putin: To conclude, I want to stress again that the meeting was highly useful and timely. As has been said, we signed a Statement on the results of our today’s work. The public and the media can read that statement. It gives a more detailed account of what we worked on and what we agreed on.
You can see to my left our present to both our Armenian and Azerbaijani friends: an olive branch, a symbol of peace and wellbeing. I sincerely hope that today’s agreements will be followed on and will create conditions for further steps in normalising relation in the entire South Caucasus.