Leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia trust Russia in Karabakh issue
Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 9
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:
Russia has tools of influence on the course of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Deputy Director of Institute of the CIS countries Vladimir Zharikhin told Trend.
He made the remarks commenting on the visit of representatives of the Russian authorities to Azerbaijan.
"Russia has never denied its active role in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," he said. "This country is the Minsk Group Co-Chair together with the US and France."
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.
On the night of April 2, 2016, all the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from the Armenian side, which used large-caliber weapons, mortars and grenade launchers. The armed clashes resulted in deaths and injuries among the Azerbaijani population. Azerbaijan responded with a counter-attack, which led to liberation of several strategic heights and settlements.
Military operations were stopped on the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian armies on Apr. 5 at 12:00 (UTC/GMT + 4 hours) with the consent of the sides, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry earlier said. Ignoring the agreement, the Armenian side again started violating the ceasefire.
Following the escalation on the frontline between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Azerbaijan April 6, while Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev - on April 8.
During the hostilities, Moscow made great efforts in order to achieve the restoration of truce, said Zharikhin.
He said that not only the Russian president repeatedly discussed this issue with his colleagues from Azerbaijan and Armenia, but also first statements regarding the ceasefire were made by military representatives of the parties to the conflict during the negotiations with the participation of the chief of the Russian General Staff.
"Now we see that these efforts continue," said Zharikhin. "They are being consolidated now. The visits of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Baku and Yerevan are important, as well as negotiations with the parties, which are mainly carried out to solve the conflict."
"Russia succeeds in maintaining the status of a mediator and the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia trust Russia, it's not coincidence that their meetings often took place with the participation of the Russian president," he said.