Changing the format of the negotiations on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is possible only with the consent of the sides, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters at a press briefing.
"Russia, as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, has repeatedly spoken about the negotiation format, which can only be changed on the basis of the consent of the sides. This is not only our position, but also the position of the other members," she said.
Also, answering journalists' question about whether Russia is ready in the event of an initiative by the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia to meet at the CIS Ministerial Council meeting on April 5 in Moscow, to provide them with a platform, Zakharova noted that in general, when the sides turn to the Russia for the opportunity to provide a platform or play a mediating role, Moscow always respectfully considers these issues.
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 Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.