The meeting between Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev hosted by their outgoing Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev at the Krasnaya Polyana skiing resort in Sochi was the first in more than half a year.
The Medvedev-hosted June 24 talks in Kazan failed to produce a breakthrough in the form of a framework agreement contrary to high expectations from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the broader international community in this regard.
In the seven months since then, the situation in the Karabakh conflict zone has remained tense, with the two sides regularly blaming each other for ceasefire violations that often result in the loss of life.
The latest Medvedev-Sargsyan-Aliyev summit resulted in a trilateral declaration in which the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan voice their support for confidence-building measures between the parties to the conflict, including in the humanitarian sphere. The American, Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, the main format advancing international efforts on brokering a solution to the Karabakh conflict, also called for enhancing confidence through “people-to-people exchanges” as they visited the region late last year.
The Sochi meeting became the tenth head-to-head negotiations between the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders hosted by President Medvedev since 2008. It is likely to become the last one held with the mediation of Medvedev, whose term in office as Russia’s president ends in May.
Most of the previous meetings resulted in no concrete agreements, but at least one of them (in November 2008, at Meiendorf Castle, near Moscow) ended in a signed declaration, with the conflicting sides pledging to resolve the conflict peacefully; another one (in October 2010, in Astrakhan) brought about an agreement on the exchange of prisoners of war and human remains.
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