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Obama Calls Serzh Sargsyan, Ilham Aliyev Ahead of Kazan Meeting

US President Barack Obama made phone calls Thursday to Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in advance of their upcoming summit on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that Russian President Dimitriy Medvedev will host in Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia, on Jun. 24, according to a White House press release.

Obama reaffirmed the message expressed in his May 26 joint statement with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs French President Nicholas Sarkozy and Medvedev that the moment has come for all the sides to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to take a decisive step towards a peaceful settlement.

The US president strongly encouraged the two leaders to finalize and endorse the Basic Principles during their meeting with Medvedev in Kazan.  Once the Basic Principles are agreed to, the parties can begin negotiating a final settlement based on the Helsinki principles of non-use of force or threat of force, territorial integrity, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples.

Obama told both leaders that now is the time to resolve this conflict and to offer the people of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Nagorno-Karabakh a better future for themselves and for their children. According to the White House statement, the United States will continue to support both leaders and the Minsk Group Co-Chairs in their efforts to advance security and prosperity in the region.

According to a press release issued by the Armenian president’s office: “Barack Obama thanked Serzh Sargsyan for his leadership in the issue of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement and stressed the importance of recording progress in Kazan in the context of the Deauville statement.

“Serzh Sargsyan thanked Barack Obama for his consistent support in the conflict settlement process within the Minsk Group. Serzh Sargsyan noted that the peoples of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh have always strived for the peaceful and just settlement of the conflict and if in Kazan Azerbaijan displays a constructive approach, then positive results can be expected.

“The Armenian and US presidents also discussed bilateral cooperation issues.”