By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko has said the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region is in the focus of the Russian government.
“Russia has always taken an active mediating position. The Karabakh issue remains in the focus of attention of the Russian president and the foreign minister,” told RIA Novosti agency on February 12.
As Rudenko stressed, assistance to the parties in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement is one of Russia’s unconditional foreign policy priorities.
“Among the documents signed with the direct assistance of Russia is the 1994 ceasefire agreement that has been so far the basis for truce,” Rudenko added.
Recalling Russia's mediation efforts, he described as an important step the adoption of the Moscow Declaration in 2008, which is about political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“This is the first and so far the only document on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’s settlement signed by the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia," he emphasized.
Rudenko further told that Russia carries out its mediation mission in close contact with the U.S. and French partners.
He reminded that in April 2019, in Moscow, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov organized a meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian FMs, and OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs also participated there.
“At this meeting, in continuation of the agreements reached between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Vienna last year, specific proposals were worked out aimed at creating an atmosphere conducive to the resumption of the substantive negotiation process on the conflict’s settlement,” he stated.
As for the situation on the border and the contact line of the troops, Rudenko informed that it remains relatively calm.
“There is communication line between Yerevan and Baku. The parties declare their readiness to continue the search for compromise solutions. We support this attitude. There is a basis for continuing work. The main thing is to show political will,” Rudenko concluded.
Russia has significant potential to provide substantial impact on the course of events in the Caucasus, in particular, on the settlement of Karabakh conflict. Today, Russia is one of Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, which spearheads the OSCE’s efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. Russia, along with other co-chairing countries – the US and France has been mediating the peaceful resolution of the conflict since the signing of a temporary cease-fire agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia in 1994.
Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijan’s breakaway region which along with seven adjacent regions was occupied by Armenian forces in a war in the early 1990s. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and around one million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. To this day, Armenia has not implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions.