Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan proposed during telephone talks to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to create a working group to resolve the Karabakh problem, CNN Turk TV channel reported citing a diplomatic source.
The presidents of the Russian Federation and Turkey discussed the situation in Karabakh by telephone on Saturday. As the press service of the Kremlin reported, they confirmed their mutual readiness to cooperate to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict in the region.
According to the TV channel, Putin welcomed the proposal of the Turkish leader; in the coming days, negotiations on the Karabakh crisis may turn into a bilateral format, which will operate outside the work of the OSCE Minsk Group. It is indicated that the new group will work on measures in the period after the ceasefire and to conduct the process of political settlement. It is reported that after the talks between Erdogan and Putin, the foreign ministers of both countries also held telephone talks.
The fighting on the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh began on 27 September. Armenia and Azerbaijan accuse each other of unleashing hostilities, in Karabakh they report artillery shelling of peaceful settlements of the unrecognized republic, including its capital, Stepanakert. Armenia has declared martial law and — for the first time — general mobilization, claiming that Ankara is actively supporting Baku. Partial mobilization was introduced in Azerbaijan and martial law in a number of places. The leaders of Russia, the United States and France called on the opposing sides to stop clashes, to commit themselves to start negotiations without preconditions.
On October 9, the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia arrived in Moscow at the invitation of the President of the Russian Federation, together with their Russian counterpart they held talks for more than 10 hours. As a result, Yerevan and Baku agreed to cease fire in Karabakh from noon on October 10, exchange prisoners and the bodies of the dead, and also agree on specific details of the truce. However, on the same day, the parties began to accuse each other of violations of the agreement. The second attempt to organize a humanitarian truce was made on the night of 18 October. The American State Department announced the achieved humanitarian ceasefire from 7.00 Moscow time (8.00 local time) on October 26, but even after that, the parties to the conflict declared that the enemy was not observing it.
The conflict in Karabakh began in 1988, when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan SSR. In the course of the armed confrontation in 1992-1994, Azerbaijan lost control over Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions. Since 1992, negotiations have been underway on a peaceful settlement of the conflict within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group, headed by three co-chairs — Russia, the United States and France. Azerbaijan insists on preserving its territorial integrity, Armenia protects the interests of the unrecognized republic, since NKR is not a party to the negotiations.