FM: Russia to mediate in establishing humanitarian ties between Baku and Yerevan (UPDATE)
The details were added (the first version was posted at 16:36)
The Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents appealed to Russia to mediate in establishing the humanitarian ties between the two countries, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today, RIA Novosti reported.
"Baku and Yerevan appealed for Russia to be the initiator of these contacts," Lavrov said. "Of course, President Medvedev agreed.
He added that Russia has always stood for this kind of humanitarian ties and is ready to fulfill the mediator's role for this purpose.
Commenting on the results of the trilateral meeting held between presidents Medvedev, Aliyev and Sargsyan in Sochi, Lavrov said that three presidents expressed their confidence in the need to establish direct humanitarian, cultural, educational and other contacts between people.
Russian Foreign Minister said that the leaders of the three countries agree that these contacts are important to restore and strengthen the trust between Azerbaijan and Armenia and to create the most favorable atmosphere to make the political decisions.
Lavrov said that the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents expect to get the mediators' proposals on the implementation of specific procedures to investigate the incidents along the ceasefire line.
Lavrov recalled that Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan expressed interest in establishing a mechanism of investigating the incidents along the cease-fire line during a similar meeting in Sochi in March last year.
"The OSCE Minsk Group prepared a report which describes the mechanism of investigating the incidents," he said. "It has been submitted to the presidents today."
He said that the leaders instructed to continue this work, based on the fact that it is necessary to prescribe the specific procedures to investigate these incidents.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent 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 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.