Moscow welcomes intensification of negotiation process on Karabakh conflict
Moscow welcomes the intensification of the negotiation process on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict and is interested in its effectiveness, said Grigory Karasin, Russian State Secretary and Deputy Foreign Minister.
He made the remarks in his recent interview with Interfax.
The deputy foreign minister also said Russia welcomes the forthcoming meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers, which will be held in the second half of January 2018.
“Russia supports the desire of Baku and Yerevan to seek compromise solutions to the conflict on the basis of existing groundwork,” said Karasin. “For our part, together with our partners co-chairing in the OSCE Minsk Group, we will continue to provide mediation assistance to the peaceful settlement of the protracted conflict.”
The deputy FM further noted that the common position of Russia, the U.S. and France was clearly formulated in a joint statement by the heads of delegations of the three countries at a meeting of the OSCE participating states’ foreign ministers, held in early December in Vienna.
Karasin also reminded that after a long break, with the assistance of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, the Armenian-Azerbaijani summit was held in October in Geneva.
“It was agreed at the summit to intensify the negotiating process and take additional measures aimed at reducing tension on the line of contact of the conflicting parties,” he said.
In addition, Karasin noted that on the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in December in Vienna, the FMs of Azerbaijan and Armenia discussed key issues of the conflict settlement for which consensus was not yet reached.
“Possible actions that contribute to the de-escalation of the situation in the conflict zone were considered. Concrete proposals related to the expansion of the OSCE observer mission were conveyed to the sides,” said the diplomat.
The deputy FM added that the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers agreed to continue conversation on these and other issues of the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement in January 2018 with the participation of the three mediator countries.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the NagornoKarabakh region and seven surrounding districts. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.
Armenia still controls fifth part of Azerbaijan's territory and rejects implementing four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts.
Russia, along with the U.S. and France, is a co-chair country of the OSCE Minsk Group established to broker a peace to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.