MOSCOW — Armenia and Azerbaijan cannot end their simmering border disputes without Russian mediation and mutual concessions, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi on Thursday.
“The main thing now is to finally resolve the situation on the [Armenian-Azerbaijani] border, and it’s impossible to do anything here without Russia’s participation,” he said. “We probably don’t need anyone except Russia and the two sides. Why? … Because the Russian army’s General Staff has maps showing the borders that existed between Soviet republics in Soviet times.”
Putin, who brokered a ceasefire that stopped the Karabakh war last November, said that while Soviet military maps must serve as a basis of the talks the two conflicting sides should be ready for minor territorial swaps and other mutual concessions.
“There are things there that also require mutual compromises,” he said. “Something could be straightened [on the map] in some places and swapped in others.”
At the same time, he stressed that Moscow is also considering a multilateral option for resolving this situation, in particular the OSCE Minsk Group. “We are working on this, including with our partners, it is important to achieve the main goal – the security situation and the construction of future relations in a positive way,” the President said.
He reminded that the trilateral statement provides for a possible extension of the stay of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in the conflict zone. “But that’s not the point, what’s the most important is how to build relations between the two countries, and I hope that we will be able to do this,” Putin stated.