MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that a Russian-brokered agreement that stopped the war in Nagorno-Karabakh may have laid the groundwork for an eventual resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.
Putin mentioned the November 9 deal as he spoke at a virtual summit of the leaders of Brazil, China, Russia, India and South Africa making up the BRICS grouping.
“It is important that the mentioned agreements are being observed,” he said. “Hostilities have been fully stopped and the situation is stabilizing. Conditions have thus been created for a long-term and full resolution of the crisis on a just basis and in the interests of both the Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples.”
Putin, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev struck the deal six weeks after the start of the war that killed thousands of soldiers from both sides.
Azerbaijan agreed to halt offensive military operations in return for an Armenian pledge to withdraw by the end of this month from three districts around Karabakh. Baku regained control over four other districts, which had been occupied by Karabakh Armenian forces in the early 1990s, during the latest war.
The truce accord also calls for the deployment in the conflict zone of around 2,000 Russian peacekeepers and the return of refugees and internally displaced persons. It says nothing about Karabakh’s future status, the main bone of contention.
Yerevan has indicated that it will continue to seek international recognition of Karabakh’s secession from Azerbaijan. By contrast, Aliyev stated on Tuesday that Baku will not even agree to grant the Armenian-populated territory an autonomous status.
Russia has for decades tried to broker a Karabakh settlement together with the United States and France. The three world powers co-chair the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian discussed the Karabakh conflict when they met in Paris on Monday. According to a U.S. State Department official, they acknowledged Russia’s role in the end of the hostilities while concurring that Moscow should further clarify terms of the ceasefire deal and Turkey’s role in its implementation.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that Moscow is ready to provide such clarifications.