Russian Foreign Ministry: Nagorno Karabakh can not participate in negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan
Russia, Moscow, Sept.24 / Trend, A. Gasimova /
Nagorno Karabakh can not participate in the negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan as a certain side, because Azerbaijan considers it as its territory, the Director of the Fourth CIS States Department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, Andrey Kelin told journalists.
"The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is more complicated than the Abkhaz and South Ossetian conflicts. Today, the conflict sides need a political will to agree on the principles included in the Madrid document," Kelin said.
He said the OSCE Minsk Group is a reasonable and useful format for the negotiations, though it was tried to be expanded.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev believes that he can play a constructive role in resolving the conflict, which is evidenced by his work in the negotiating process, Kelin said.
"For us Armenia is an ally as a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and Azerbaijan is a strategic partner," he said.
According to Kalin, Russia will continue to support the negotiation process on Nagorno-Karabakh.
"The fact that the OSCE assessment mission goes to the conflict zone is a positive moment, but we must understand that a dialogue is needed between the militaries to prevent escalation of the conflict," Kelin said.
On Azerbaijan's initiative the OSCE assessment mission is currently studying the situation in the Azerbaijani occupied territories. During the last visit of the Minsk Group co-chairs the mediators visited the territories and got familiarized with the situation. They are expected to prepare a report on the situation in the occupied territories.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including Nagorno Karabakh and the seven surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994.
The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the United States - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's resolutions on the liberation of Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding regions.