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Putin: Russia considers transfer to Azerbaijan of some regions, controlled by Armenia, possible

Russia initially spoke of the possibility of transfer to Azerbaijan of "five plus two" regions, controlled by Armenia, said Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to a question about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at a plenary session of VTB Capital’s Russia Calling! Forum.

"Initially, we proceeded under the premise that this issue is about (our position is absolutely open) transferring five (plus two) regions to Azerbaijan and putting in place certain regulations for Karabakh, certain interaction with Armenia, and so on", - said Putin.

He reminded that the conflict started from ethnic clashes and the leadership of the Soviet Union failed to take any efficient measures to secure safety of people.

" The Armenians took up arms and did it themselves. For better or worse these negative events, based on ethnic differences, triggered their actions. This led to Armenia taking control of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other Azerbaijani regions. Is that a good thing or not?" - said Putin.

"What is Azerbaijan saying? It is saying that these seven regions have nothing to do with the ethnic conflict or Armenia, as these are native Azerbaijani territories. And Azerbaijan says, “We have the right to return these territories.” You know, everyone has their own truth. There are no easy solutions here; this is a complex knot", - he acknowledged.

A long-term settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh can only be possible if a balance of interests of Armenia and Azerbaijan is observed, stated the Russian President.

"What would a lasting settlement (in Nagorno-Karabakh) look like, you asked. Now I will come close to the meaning of your question. How do we strike a balance of interests that will suit the Azerbaijani people, whom we treat with unwavering respect, while taking into account the interests of the Armenian people", - said Putin.
He pointed out that people should feel safe and secure there. "But at the same time put opportunities for effective regional development in place, including unblocking and expanding the infrastructural opportunities that would form the basis for effective development of both Azerbaijan and Armenia, and Nagorno-Karabakh as well, where people live quite modestly", - explained Putin.

And then, according to the President, it could be possible even for many participants of the forum to pitch in development of these territories and to invest in them.

"There are things to invest in there. People in both countries are very efficient and skilled. This 30 year-long conflict precludes the effective development of both conflicting parties ", - explained Putin.

He underscored that the first phase should end military actions to not let people die anymore and sit down at a table for negotiations.

"This can effectively be done based on the proposals formulated by the Minsk Group and its co-chairs – Russia, the United States and France, with the participation of other Minsk Group members, including Turkey and a number of European states, find a consensus and a balance of interests. This can be done", - concluded Putin.

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