MOSCOW, August 5. /TASS/. The accusations that Russia is trying to monopolize the work on the settlement of the Nagorny Karabakh conflict are unfounded, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Azerbaijani State News Agency AZERTAC on Friday.
"We often hear that Russia is trying to monopolize the work related to the settlement of the Nagorny Karabakh conflict and push other mediators aside. That is a misconception," Putin said.
More than twenty trilateral summits on the Karabakh issue with the participation of the Russian president perfectly complement the efforts by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by Russia, the US and France to settle this conflict, Putin said.
"It should be noted that US and French representatives attended the concluding part of the abovementioned trilateral summit in St. Petersburg," the Russian leader said.
In turn, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Minister of State for European Affairs of the French Foreign Ministry Harlem Desir were invited to the meeting between Azeri President Aliyev and Armenian leader Serzh Sargsyan held on the initiative of the US in Vienna on May 16, 2016, Putin said.
This approach is an example of how "we can and should work to settle international conflicts. I hope that our joint efforts will help the sides to reach a consensual solution," Putin said.
The president went on to say that Russia is not trying to impose on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict sides some ready-made solutions, this issue requires a balanced compromise between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
"I would like to particularly emphasize that we are not trying to impose some ready-made solutions upon Armenia and Azerbaijan," the Russian leader said. "The sides should reach an agreement and find mutually acceptable solutions independently, without external pressure. This is our firm position," he added.
According to Putin, "Reaching a compromise means finding an optimal balance between the principles of territorial integrity and the right of peoples to self-determination. We are fully aware of the responsibility that rests on the shoulders of the Armenian and Azerbaijani leadership. The final goal of the settlement should be an agreement with no winning or losing sides, with mutual concessions and benefits for both sides that are clear to the public in both Armenia and Azerbaijan."
Putin said that "Russia is ready to support a solution that would be acceptable to all parties involved and, together with other mediators, to act as a guarantor of the settlement." According to him, "Therefore, it is our genuine interest that the neighboring region is peaceful and calm again, that casualties stop, borders open, and economic ties are restored there." "We are doing our utmost for that," Putin said.
The president recalled that "in May 1994, the ceasefire agreement was signed with the direct assistance of Russia, and it is still the basis of the truce." "The adoption of the 2008 Moscow Declaration was an important step. It confirms that a conflict settlement should be achieved through political means alone," Putin said. "By the way, this is the first and still the only document on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement signed by the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan. It was Russia again that played the crucial role in the cessation of large-scale hostilities at the beginning of April 2016," the Russian president said.