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Karabakh conflict can be settled at present – Medvedev

December 24, 2011, 21:41 UTC+3

There is only one way – to agree because there is no alternative to reaching accord - President

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MOSCOW, December 24 (Itar-Tass) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the unique conflict on the post-Soviet space that can be settled.

There is only one way – to agree because there is no alternative to reaching accord. The alternative – the war – is bad,” Medvedev told AzTV (Azerbaijani television and radio broadcasting) on Saturday.

“This is my reply: in recent years much has been done in order to bring the positions closer. There are prospects for reaching agreement,” the Russian president said. “In my view, this is, maybe, the unique conflict on the post-Soviet space that can be settled at present. All depends on good will of the parties and on their wish to listen to each other’s arguments. Tell straight, there can be simple decisions,” Medvedev stressed.

“We can come to an agreement only on the basis of a compromise. So, each party should follow its way,” he added. “Russia will facilitate this,” Medvedev pointed out.

Medvedev said, “Yesterday I talked with President Ilkham Aliyev of Azerbaijan when he called me to congratulate on the results of the elections.”

Speaking about prospects for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution, the Russian president recalled that he “riveted much attention to this time”.

It’s under his mediation that the tripartite meetings were held with the participation of the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia. In his opinion, “This was a good and big work because we succeeded in bringing closer positions. It’s full well.” “We succeeded in raising questions to the parties where their positions diverged. And we succeeded in doing this honestly and openly, and present our arguments,” Medvedev went on, stressing, “This is the mission of a mediator to take part in such talks.”

“Moreover the Russian Federation jointly with other participants in the Minsk Group exerts much effort in this direction. No long ago I’ve talked about this issue with other members of the Minsk Group, i.e. President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy,” he said.

In Deauville, Dmitry Medvedev, Nicolas Sarkozy and Barack Obama called on the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan “to show political will and complete the work on the basic principle [of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict] during the upcoming Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in June”.

The landlocked mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh is the subject of an unresolved dispute between Azerbaijan, in which it lies, and its ethnic Armenian majority, backed by neighbouring Armenia.

In 1988, towards the end of Soviet rule, Azerbaijani troops and Armenian secessionists began a bloody war, which left the de facto independent state in the hands of ethnic Armenians when a truce was signed in 1994.

Negotiations have so far failed to produce a permanent peace agreement, and the dispute remains one of post-Soviet Europe's "frozen conflicts." With the break-up of the Soviet Union, in late 1991, Karabakh declared itself an independent republic, further escalating the conflict into a full-scale war. That de facto status has not been recognised elsewhere.

In a December 2006 referendum, declared illegitimate by Azerbaijan, the region approved a new constitution. Nonetheless, there have since been signs of life in the peace process, with occasional meetings between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents. Significant progress was reported at talks between the leaders in May and November 2009, but progress then stalled, and tension began rising again as of 2010.

The OSCE Minsk Group was created in 1992 by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE, now Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)) to encourage a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. The Minsk Group is headed by Russia, France and the United States.

An additional format had been created over the Karabakh settlement – Russia plays a mediating role. The presidents of three countries met in Astrakhan in October 2010.

They adopted a joint declaration after the meeting. “This is a special declaration on the enhancement of confidence-building measures,” Medvedev said, adding that the document envisioned “an exchange of prisoners of war and the return of the bodies.”

“Having confirmed the provisions of the joint Declaration signed in Moscow on November 2, 2008, the presidents stressed that the resolution of the conflict by political and diplomatic means requires further efforts to strengthen the ceasefire and military confidence-building measures,” the joint statement said.

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