Russian diplomat: Nagorno-Karabakh sees period of hope (UPDATE)
Details added (the first version was posted at 13:35)
Azerbaijan, Baku, June 8 / Trend E.Tariverdiyeva /
Russia, as an OSCE Minsk Group co-chair, is making every effort at mediation and believes in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Russian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Vladimir Dorokhin said on Wednesday.
"I beg you to believe us when we say that we are doing our best to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," Dorokhin said at a news conference, marking the Day of Russia on June 12. "Today, we as negotiators are in a period of hope," he said.
He said Moscow is making efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by doing everything in its power so that the parties to the conflict come to serious agreements. He believes that such a chance exists.
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 seven 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 peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan, have held periodic meetings since June 2008 to concede on ways to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Despite this, the basic principles have not yet been agreed on.
"Russia stands for the supremacy of international law at the international arena and is willing to contribute to resolving world problems", Dorokhin stressed.
Dorokhin named Russia's relations with Azerbaijan a strategic partnership, noting important events in the past year, including Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit and the Russian-Azerbaijani humanitarian forum.
"Russia remains an important economic partner to Baku," he said. "Russia wants to see a strong and prosperous neighbor."
The press conference also touched the issue that "Echo of Moscow" Chief Editor Alexei Venediktov in his statements justifies the radio station's journalist's recent visit to Nagorno- Karabakh without agreement with the Azerbaijani side.
"One cannot ban Venediktov to make statements, but he should understand his responsibility," Dorokhin said. "Azerbaijan's decision to restrict this man [journalist Sergei Buntman] - is its right, and it is not discussed."
Deputy Chief Editor of the Russian radio station "Echo of Moscow" Sergei Buntman visited occupied Nagorno-Karabakh without Azerbaijan's knowledge in mid-May. Buntman has interviewed the separatist leaders. The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry included the journalists in the list of persona-non-grata. Azerbaijan declares foreigners, who visit Nagorno-Karabakh without notifying Baku, persona-non-grata.