Any constructive contacts should contribute to achieving the main goal of the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a press conference July 18.
She was commenting on the results of the recent meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers in Brussels.
“I would like to emphasize once again that the comments on the outcome of the meeting, about how fruitful, useful and promising it was, rest with the immediate participants of the meeting,” Zakharova said. “We welcome anything that both sides assess as a step towards full settlement or at least continuation of the dialogue.”
On July 12, Brussels hosted an introductory meeting between Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and his Armenian counterpart Zohrab Mnatsakanyan with the mediation of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Igor Popov of Russia, Stephane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the US).
Andrzej Kasprzyk, personal representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, also took part in the meeting.
This was the first meeting at the highest level between the parties in this format following the elections in Armenia and Azerbaijan.
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.
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