Russian FM calls for Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement
By Sara Rajabova
It is time to intensify the negotiations on settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov in Moscow July on 17.
“There are grounds to presume that the time has come to intensify our efforts,” RIA Novosti quoted Lavrov as saying.
He added that OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs carry out coherent work on this issue.
Lavrov also noted that taking into account the common determination to achieve results, “we can ensure this progress”.
Mammadyarov, for his part, stressed the necessity of withdrawing Armenian armed forces from Azerbaijan’s occupied territories in order to insure the stability of the region.
The minister emphasized Russia’s role as one of the co-chairing countries of the OSCE Minsk Group in a peaceful settlement of the ongoing conflict.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict emerged in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since a lengthy war in the early 1990s that displaced over one million Azerbaijanis, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions.
Peace talks, mediated by Russia, France, and the U.S. through the OSCE Minsk Group, are underway on the basis of a peace outline proposed by the Minsk Group co-chairs dubbed the Madrid Principles. However, the negotiations have been largely fruitless so far despite the efforts of the co-chair countries over the past 20 years.
Furthermore, after congratulating his Russian counterpart on the successful completion of the talks on Iran’s nuclear program, Mammadyarov said the lengthy talks on the Iranian nuclear program give hope that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can also be resolved.
“The settlement is taking a line towards a speedy breakthrough,” Mammadyarov said.
The sides further exchanged views on issues of mutual interest.
Lavrov expressed confidence that this visit will promote the further development of bilateral relations, which are already at a high level.
He also said that cooperation between Azerbaijan and Russia continues successfully in many fields, including in the humanitarian sphere.
The “Days of Russian Culture” will be organized during the International Humanitarian Forum to be held in Baku, according to Lavrov.
He also said St. Petersburg will host an event on exploring oil and gas fields in the Artic, adding that Azerbaijan’s energy minister has also been invited to this event.
Moreover, Lavrov noted that an interregional forum will be organized as part of the Azerbaijani-Russian intergovernmental economic commission in Yekaterinburg, while Sverdlovsk province will host an exhibition of military equipment. A delegation from Azerbaijan is expected to participate in the events.
Mammadyarov, for his part, said this meeting has been held under the instruction of the Azerbaijani and Russian presidents.