Russia welcomes the activation of the process of negotiations on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Grigory Karasin said in an interview with Interfax.
Karasin recalled the Armenian-Azerbaijani summit on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement, which was held in Geneva in October 2017 with the assistance of the CSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.
“In October 2017, after a long break, the Armenian-Azerbaijani summit on the Karabakh settlement was held in Geneva with the assistance of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. During the summit, the parties agreed to intensify the negotiation process and take additional measures aimed at reducing tensions on the contact line of troops. In this regard, the co-chairs held separate consultations in November 2017 with the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia,” he said.
The Russian diplomat also touched upon the ministerial meeting organized on the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Vienna. “The Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers discussed the key issues of the settlement, on which consensus could not yet be reached. In addition, possible actions that would lead to de-escalation in the conflict zone were considered. The parties were given specific proposals related to the expansion of the OSCE observation mission. The ministers also agreed to continue the negotiations in January 2018 with the participation of the Minsk Group co-chairs,” said Karasin.
The deputy foreign minister also said that Moscow welcomes the upcoming ministerial meeting in Moscow.
“Russia is interested in an effective outcome of the ministerial meeting in January next year and supports the efforts of Yerevan and Baku to seek compromises on the basis of the work done,” he said.
Russia, together with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, will continue to mediate in a peaceful solution to the Karabakh conflict, stressed Karasin. “This unified position of Russia, the U.S. and France was clearly mentioned in the joint statement of the heads of delegation of the three countries in Vienna,” he added.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in 1988.
A fierce war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the war, Armenian armed forces occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory which includes Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts (Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan), and over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced people.
The military operations finally came to an end when Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in Bishkek in 1994.
Dealing with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the OSCE Minsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the CSCE (OSCE after the Budapest summit held in December 1994) Ministerial Council in Helsinki on 24 March 1992. The Group’s members include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belarus, Finland and Sweden.
Besides, the OSCE Minsk Group has a co-chairmanship institution, comprised of Russian, the US and French co-chairs, which began operating in 1996.
Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the UN Security Council, which were passed in short intervals in 1993, and other resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, PACE, OSCE, OIC, and other organizations require Armenia to unconditionally withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh.