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  Tuesday, July 7, 2020
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Russian President Vladimir Putin argues that conflicts in the South Caucasus are to be settled through compromise
"Awareness of a need for normal relations between people who live in the region will hopefully overcome political ambitions, and we will solve these problems on the basis of compromise," he told a Sochi news conference after a meeting with Armenian President Robert Kocharyan. The Russian President described the situation in the South Caucasus as complicated. "We have inherited a lot of conflicts," he said, "These conflicts are muffled, but burst out here and there, which is a concern to us." Mr. Putin said that Russia was ready to mediate in and guarantee the results of a settlement of the lingering Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. "Russia is ready to act as a mediator and a guarantor if there is demand for our efforts and the parties to the conflict are willing [to let Russia in]," he said. "We have discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. No breakthrough decisions have been made - today's discussion was just about search for additional measures to maintain the dialogue," the Russian president added. He emphasized that, importantly, "the sides have revealed their willingness to seek a compromise." According to Putin, both Armenian and Azeri presidents would embrace a compromise. He also said he intended to visit Armenia. "Robert Kocharyan has invited me to visit Armenia. I will pay a visit early next year, the exact date will be adjusted through the Foreign Ministry," he remarked. As to the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, the only possible option, according to the Russian President, is to negotiate. "To sit at the table to negotiate is the only possible way out," he said. "One has to be good at negotiating and to have enough political will to deliver on what has been agreed upon, [not to let it happen when] a commission agrees on something in the morning, and on the same night officials of the same state that is represented in the commission dismiss the agreement," Mr. Putin said. The Russian President said he hoped all participants in this process would reveal enough political maturity and solidity in their peoples' best interests. According to him, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili also regarded a decision to cancel South Ossetian autonomy as a mistake. "As we talked with Mr. Saakashvili, [he said] he thought these decisions about South Ossetia, made in the early 1990s, had been a mistake. So I said nothing unexpected," Vladimir Putin said in comment on his remark about the Georgian-Ossetian conflict at yesterday's news conference on his meeting with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. In those remarks, Mr. Putin described Georgia's decision to cancel autonomous status for South Ossetia and Abkhazia as "stupid."
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