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Medvedev says aggravation of Karabakh conflict could be caused by external factors

April 09, 16:01 updated at: April 09, 16:04 UTC+3
"As all conflicts anyway at certain periods may be connected to political decisions," Russia's Prime Minister said
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© Alexander Astafjev/press-service of the Government of the Russian Federation/TASS

MOSCOW, April 9. /TASS/. Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev did not rule out external factors have caused aggravation of the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh.

"There are forces, which also very attentively analyze consequences from the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and its influence on the situation both in the Middle East, and in Russia, and, vice versa, the reverse influence from the processes, which continue now in the Middle East and in North Africa," he said in an interview with the Vesti V Subbotu weekly program on the Rossiya television channel.

"As all conflicts anyway at certain periods may be connected to political decisions," Medvedev said. "Thus, I do not rule out in this case, too, there are factors, which influence this conflict from outside.".

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev confirmed as the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh escalated, heads of the Armenian and Azerbaijani General Staffs had come to Moscow to discuss detailed military aspects of ceasefire.

Medvedev said, for Russia as a country having partner, ally relations both with Armenia and with Azerbaijan, it is most important the conflict is not extended, is not developing into the permanent stage. This is why Russia's President Vladimir Putin first day of the recent escalation of the conflict called presidents of Armenia and of Azerbaijan to explain Russia's position on the issue, the prime minister said.

The position, he continued, is "it is most important not to allow escalation, no matter what happens, no matter who began what, no matter what comments are, the most important thing now is to calm down, to stop fire, to announce truce and to get to the negotiations table."

"After that, followed other contacts," he continued. "To us have come representatives of the General Staffs (heads) to discuss detailed military aspects of the ceasefire regime."

Earlier, Armenia's Foreign Ministry and Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry reported that on April 5 the agreement on ceasefire in Karabakh was reached in Moscow at a meeting of the General Staffs' heads.

Besides, the prime minister said, began also diplomatic contacts on settlement of the conflict, and the decision came besides the planned visit to Armenia it is important also to pay a visit to Azerbaijan as well in order to discuss "with leaders of those countries the situation, so to say, on the spot."

"I have managed to do so, and I already have my own understanding of how the events developed and, most importantly, what is to be done," Medvedev said.

He said he had discussed the problems not once both with Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan and with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, as well as with other representatives of those countries. All in all, he had more than a dozen meetings in the past. Thus, he said, the talks, which were over on Friday, "were just a discussion about what is possible and what not."

The anchorman asked Medvedev whether the parties discussed in Yerevan and Baku actions of the armed forces of those countries during the recent days of conflict, and which Russian satellites had fixed. The prime minister replied: though "now everything can be monitored both by satellites or by other means of control" the most important aspect in that situation was "not to demonstrate positions of either side, nor even to offer sorrowful results."

"The most important aspect is to demonstrate it is necessary to calm down, to stop the fire. This is what the Russian representatives were doing, and I am happy we have managed it," Medvedev said. "Anyway, now that we are talking here the truce has been announced, and it is observed."

"Even if there is an exchange of fire, those are separate cases, and being fair we should confirm - they had happened even before that. But wide-scale military actions involving heavy weapons, artillery, guns, used here, - this does not exist," Medvedev said in conclusion.

Overnight to April 2, hostilities erupted on the line disengaging warring sides in Nagorno-Karabakh. Later, the parties to the conflict accused each other of the ceasefire violations. On Friday, Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed a ceasefire to search for bodies of servicemen.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

The highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh (Mountainous Karabakh) is a mostly Armenian-populated enclave inside the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. It was the first zone of inter-ethnic tensions and violence to appear on the map of the former USSR.

Even almost a quarter of a century after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Karabakh remains a so-called 'frozen conflict' on the post-Soviet space, as the region is the subject of a dispute between Azerbaijan and the local Armenian population that draws on strong support from fellow-countrymen in neighboring Armenia.

In 1988, hostilities broke out there between the forces reporting to the government in Baku and Armenian residents, which resulted in the region's de facto independence.

In 1994 a ceasefire was reached but the relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia remain strained ever since then.

Russia, France and the U.S. co-chair the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which attempts to broker an end to hostilities and the conflict.

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