Russia says opposed to foreign `recipes` for conflict resolution

Head of Russia`s lower house of parliament has said on a visit to Baku that the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno Karabakh should not be settled with outside interference.

``We are opposed to a solution from the outside on the basis of ready recipes,`` State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said in his address at the Baku Slavic University. ``We are absolutely confident that this problem could be resolved only if both parties` interests are met. If such a solution is found, Russia is ready to play the role of a guarantor of this agreement. But, once again, the responsibility for the conflict settlement rests with the people of Azerbaijan and Armenia.``

Naryshkin noted that the Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders have held 10 meetings at the initiative of former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

``Those meetings cannot be regarded as absolutely fruitless,`` he said. ``The meetings have allowed to determine the parties` positions and outline directions of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement.``

Russia co-chairs the OSCE Minsk Group mediating the peace process, along with the United States and France.

Naryshkin also expressed concern over recent incidents on the contact line of Azerbaijani and Armenian troops.

Tensions escalated on the frontline after a series of clashes in June in which nine soldiers from both sides were reported killed. Azerbaijan`s Defense Ministry blamed the Armenian side for all the skirmishes.

``We have always resolutely laid out our stance: non-use of force or the threat of force is one of the main pre-conditions for a settlement of the conflict,`` Naryshkin said. ``I am an optimist and hope that this conflict could be resolved peacefully.``

The Karabakh conflict emerged in 1988 when Armenia leveled territorial claims against Azerbaijan. The two countries fought a lengthy war that displaced about one million Azerbaijanis. Since the fragile ceasefire accord signed in 1994, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan`s internationally recognized territory, in defiance of international law. Peace talks have been largely fruitless so far.

A peace outline for the conflict settlement offered by the OSCE mediators, dubbed the Madrid Principles, or Basic Principles, is the basis for the ongoing peace talks. The document envisions a return of the territories surrounding Nagorno Karabakh to Azerbaijani control; determining the final legal status of Nagorno Karabakh; a corridor linking Armenia to the region; and the right of internally displaced persons to return home.