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BAKU, April 7. /TASS/. The Foreign Ministers of Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran - Sergey Lavrov, Elmar Mammadyarov and Mohammad Javad Zarif have expressed satisfaction with a ceasefire achieved in Nagorno-Karabakh, Lavrov said on Thursday after talks with his Iranian and Azerbaijani colleagues.
"We could not bypass such a hot issue as the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. We expressed satisfaction over the reached ceasefire…," he said. "We have exerted efforts to help our close friends to attain this agreement which, hopefully, will be complied with and observed, including with taking into account the fact that there are known agreements that had been adopted back in the 1990s and that are related to the indefinite obligations concerning the ceasefire regime."
Lavrov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had direct talks with the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia. "Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is in Yerevan today, and tomorrow he will be here - in Baku," the minister said. "Contacts have also been made through the General Staff Chiefs of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia."
"We think that today’s situation requires that we take a closer look at the agreements made in the past, work out confidence-building measures on the contact line," the Russian foreign minister said. "They were discussed by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and by the special envoy of the current OSCE chairperson-on-office. Probably now, in view of the outbreak of violence that has happened and that has been overcome after all, we could return to this issue."
"But I must say straight away that confidence-building in the conflict area does not at all mean that we should relax our efforts aimed at attaining a comprehensive political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," Lavrov said. "And Russia, both as a country co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group and in its national capacity as a country that has close and good relations with Azerbaijan and Armenia, will do everything in its power to promote its initiatives in line with the work that has been recently done in this sphere," the minister said.
The situation along the line of contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone deteriorated dramatically overnight to April 2, fierce clashes began. The parties to the conflict accused each other of violating the truce.
Talks on Nagorno-Karabakh have been held on the basis of the so-called Madrid Principles suggested by co-chairs of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) - Russia, France and the United States - in December 2007 in the Spanish capital.
They include three key principles written in the Helsinki Final Act: refraining from the threat or use of force, territorial integrity and the right to self-determination.
Nagorno-Karabakh sought independence from Azerbaijan at the end of the 1980s, which resulted in a war between Azerbaijan and Armenia that claimed the lives of 25,000-30,000 people between 1988 and 1994. Since then, the territory has been controlled by Armenia.