The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin will receive his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan on Wednesday for wide-ranging discussions that are likely to cover both bilateral relations, as well as the regional situation.
Sargsyan will interrupt his summer holiday in order to travel for the meeting, according to reports in the Armenian media. Putin was this week in London attending some events in the 2012 Olympics. It is not known if the meeting between Sargsyan and Putin will take place in Moscow or in Sochi, where Russian leaders traditionally spend their summer.
Relations with the former Soviet republics are high on Putin's agenda. The Russian President sees the Caucasus as a priority region for Russia. His first two terms in office started with a war in Chechnya and ended with one in Georgia.
Russia and Armenia have excellent relations and recently the two countries signed a 49 year agreement allowing for the continued presence of Russian troops on Armenian territory. Armenia is in creasingly dependent on Russian economic investment and assistance. Armenia has however indicated that it will not join the Eurasian Economic Union which is of of Putin's brainchilds.
The two Presidents are also likely to discuss the current situation around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Putin's predecessor, Dimitri Medvedev , had put considerable personal effort to try to bring Armenia and Azerbaijan to an agreement on the issue, but failed. Putin's style does not make him a natural peace-maker, and he is unlikely to try to become personally engaged in the process. Russia however is instrumental for any peace deal and the discussions between Putin and Sargsyan will determine future Russian courses on the topic.
Another subject for discussion between Putin and Sargsyan are the Georgian elections on 1 October. Sargsyan maintains good personal relations with the Georgian leadership and Putin will want to know his views on the current developments in Georgia.
photo: Vladimir Putin (archive picture)
On Tuesday, PACE approved a resolution that will allow the Russian delegation to take part in the Assembly's June session. The resolution was backed by 118 members, 62 parliamentarians voted against it, while 10 abstained.
In the Karabakh peace process there has been a reluctance by track 1 participants to engage properly with track II initiatives. The EU supported EPNK process has shown that unconventional diplomacy has much to contribute, and its energy must now be put to good use.