By Rashid Shirinov
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.
Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a lengthy war that ended with signing of a fragile ceasefire in 1994. Since the war, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities. Until now, Armenia ignores four UN Security Council resolutions on immediate withdrawal from the occupied territory of Azerbaijan, thus keeping tension high in the region.
While the OSCE Minsk Group acted as the only mediator in resolution of the conflict, the occupation of the territory of the sovereign state with its internationally recognized boundaries has been left out of due attention of the international community for years.
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.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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