Russia says Karabakh settlement among its ‘foreign policy priorities’
Russia pays special attention to the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and views this issue as one of its foreign policy priorities, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday, APA reported.
Russia has always supported steps aimed at reducing tensions in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, said Zakharova, noting that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have repeatedly and unequivocally stressed the need to take concrete steps in this direction.
“The importance of taking concrete steps was also underlined in the summits held in Vienna in May 2016 and in St. Petersburg in June 2016,” she said.
The spokesperson said she thinks the implementation of the co-chairs’ proposals depends on the will of the parties to the conflict.
“For our part, we are doing everything possible to stabilize the situation and ensure the continuation of peace talks. This was the main issue during the tripartite meeting of the Russian, Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers in April in Moscow,” added Zakharova.
She noted that the Minsk Group co-chairs are currently working on the organization of the next meeting of the presidents.
“In July this year, they [the co-chairs] negotiated on this issue with the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers in Brussels. The consultations will continue in the second half of September within the framework of the UN General Assembly session, after which a relevant statement will be made,” added Zakharova.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in 1988.
A fierce war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the war, Armenian armed forces occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory which includes Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts (Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan), and over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced people.
The military operations finally came to an end when Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in Bishkek in 1994.
Dealing with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the OSCE Minsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the CSCE (OSCE after the Budapest summit held in December 1994) Ministerial Council in Helsinki on 24 March 1992. The Group’s members include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belarus, Finland and Sweden.
Besides, the OSCE Minsk Group has a co-chairmanship institution, comprised of Russian, the US and French co-chairs, which began operating in 1996.
Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the UN Security Council, which were passed in short intervals in 1993, and other resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, PACE, OSCE, OIC, and other organizations require Armenia to unconditionally withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh.
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