Expert says breakthroughs unlikely at Kocharyan-Aliyev summit


MOSCOW, August 24 (RIA Novosti, Andrei Malyshkin) - No breakthrough agreements should be expected from the Armenian-Azerbaijani presidential summit August 27, a leading Russian political analyst said Wednesday.

Konstantin Zatulin, the Director of Russia's Institute for CIS Studies and a member of the CIS affairs committee in the State Duma, parliament's lower house, said it is highly unlikely that the upcoming meeting between Armenia's Robert Kocharyan and Azerbaijan's Ilham Aliyev in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, will resolve problems that have been plaguing the two countries' relations for years.

"There have been all kinds of problems arising at meetings between Armenia and Azerbaijan at various levels-there was a time when the president of Azerbaijan would ostentatiously refuse to meet with the president of Armenia-[so] the mere fact that such a meeting [is taking place] is good news," Zatulin said.

But he said he did not see any prerequisites for diplomatic progress in solving problems that had accumulated between the two countries over the years, most notably the long-standing dispute over Nagorny Karabakh, a region inside Azerbaijan with a predominantly ethnic Armenian population.

Asked whether he thought the redeployment of personnel from the Russian military bases in Georgia to Gyumri, in Armenia, could help resolve the Karabakh conflict, Zatulin said Azerbaijan was using the issue to once again accuse Russia and Armenia of conspiring against it. "The Armenia-Russia relationship is one of a common defense and I think [officials] in Azerbaijan should realize that," he said.

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