Russia will continue its efforts to bring closer the positions of Armenia and Azerbaijan with a view to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Russian ambassador to Armenia Ivan Volynkin told TASS agency, APA reported.
“After a four-day war in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone in April last year, a number of steps have been taken to normalize the situation. Unfortunately, agreements on the creation of mechanisms for investigating incidents and expansion of the OSCE observation mission in the conflict zone have not yet been implemented,” the diplomat said.
He stressed that Russia supports the restoration of stability in the South Caucasus and sees no alternative to a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
“We, together with our partners in the OSCE Minsk Group, will continue our efforts to bring closer the positions of the conflicting parties,” the ambassador added.
On the night of April 2, all the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from the Armenian side, which used large-caliber weapons, mortars and grenade launchers. The firing resulted in deaths and injuries among the Azerbaijani population.
Azerbaijan responded with a counterattack, which led to liberation of several strategic heights and settlements.
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 Dec.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.