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MOSCOW, August 10 /TASS/. Russia wants to reduce tensions in relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and hopes that the two countries will be able to find a compromise, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.
"During the talks, we focused on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement in the light of the trilateral Armenia-Russia-Azerbaijan summit held in St. Petersburg on June 20 and my recent meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev in Baku," Putin told a joint news conference.
Putin added that Russia would give all possible assistance to finding a solution to the "Karabakh knot". He also expressed the hope that Armenia and Azerbaijan would be able to find a compromise without the losers and winners.
The Armenian president, in turn, said that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict could not be resolved if consequences were removed instead of the causes. He believes that the core of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict consists in the struggle of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh for self-determination, which is an inseparable right of all peoples.
The Armenian president added that negotiations for the solution of such a delicate problem could never be easy and that any escalation of the conflict could upset the balance of forces.
Sargsyan thanked Putin for Russia’s role in settling the conflict.
The situation along the disengagement line separating the conflicting parties in Nagorno-Karabakh deteriorated dramatically overnight to April 2 when fierce clashes occurred on the contact line. The sides accused each other of violating the truce.
On April 5, Russia mediated a meeting between Colonel-General Nadzhmeddin Sadykov, the chief of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces General Staff, and Colonel-General Yuri Khachaturov, the chief of the Armenian Armed Forces General Staff, that took place in Moscow. The sides agreed to cease the hostilities on the line disengaging the Azerbaijani and Armenian troops in Nagorno-Karabakh. The defense ministries of Azerbaijan and Armenia announced a ceasefire on the contact line as of 12:00 (11:00 Moscow time) the same day. Ever since, the parties occasionally report brief exchanges of fire at the contact line.
The conflict between neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union’s collapse but was mainly populated by Armenians, broke out in the late 1980s.
In 1991-1994, the confrontation spilled over into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and some adjacent territories. Thousands left their homes on both sides in a conflict that killed 30,000. A truce between Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh republic on one side and Azerbaijan on the other in May 1994.
The sides confirmed their commitment to normalizing the situation on the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh in a trilateral statement, which the presidents of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan had adopted in St Petersburg on June 20.