The State Duma of the Russian Federation hailed the declaration on Nagorno-Karabakh issue, achieved as a result of a trilateral meeting of the presidents of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia in Astrakhan. "Declaration on confidence-building measures is a signal to the parties' further willingness to seek compromises to prevent the escalation of tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh," First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma International Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass.
He said "this is a small advancement in geopolitical sense, but in fact, has a" great political significance in the case of Nagorno-Karabakh problem". "A month ago, one could observe shootings in the conflict zone on the border of Azerbaijan and Armenia, and now the parties were able to sit at the negotiating table. This should be welcomed," Slutsky said.
Slutsky is confident that this step will be followed by others. "I very much hope that the general principles for regulating the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be developed before the OSCE summit in Astana on Dec.1-2. I agree with President Medvedev, that it's real," he added.
Astrakhan hosted the trilateral meeting of the presidents of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia - Ilham Aliyev, Dmitry Medvedev and Serzh Sargsyan on Oct. 27. The ways of resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were discussed there. The parties signed a declaration, which envisages the return of prisoners of war and takes a humanitarian nature, Medvedev said on Wednesday after the trilateral meeting.
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 the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.