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Russian top diplomat names ways to settle Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

November 20, 2017, 13:05 UTC+3 BAKU

No one is satisfied with the conflict, and a solution should be sought for, Sergey Lavrov said

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Russian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers, Sergey Lavrov and Elmar Mammadyarov

Russian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers, Sergey Lavrov and Elmar Mammadyarov

© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

BAKU, November 20. /TASS/. Many areas that may lead to settlement of the situation in Nagorno Karabakh have been outlined already, and no one wants to continue the conflict, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after negotiations with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov on Monday.

"No one is satisfied with the conflict, and a solution should be sought for, all the more so because many areas that are expected to bring results have already been outlined," he said.

"Being one of the three OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen, we will continue looking for mutually acceptable ways of peaceful settlement with regard to the developments that emerged during the recent meeting of the three co-chairmen - Russian, American and French - with the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers in Moscow," the Russian foreign minister added.

Lavrov also said that the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on Nagorno-Karabakh includes all the countries that can contribute to the settlement of the conflict, so, there is no need to extend its format. 

"We have an agreed format," he said. "There are three co-chairs (Russian, US, and French). They are not existing in vacuum, they are co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group where all the countries concerned that can have any influence on that process are present."

The Russian top diplomat confessed he had heard the idea of extending this format from journalists only as this topic had never been raised. "I think that in this situation, like in many other conflict situations, any new initiatives may be used, intentionally or not, as tools to spoil what is already being done in the format that has already proved its worth for both parties," Lavrov stressed.

Settlement complicated by package nature of agreements

The process of the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement is being complicated by the package character of agreements, nevertheless, diplomacy is able to find a way out, Lavrov said after talks with Mammadyarov.

"The problem is that the documents (on general approaches to the settlement) were elaborated in a package and it is very difficult to find a way to take some elements of this package that would be acceptable for one party and would not be challenged by the other party as tilting balance," he noted. "But I am confident that diplomacy is able to find such approaches that would be acceptable for both parties and that would help get this process moving in the right direction."

The Russian top diplomat cited an old saying that there is nothing new except what has been forgotten. "The entire set of steps, measures and agreements that are needed to get the process of (Nagorno-Karabakh) settlement moving is on the table," he said. "This set has repeatedly been summed up by the (OSCE) Minsk Group co-chairs, starting from 2007, then in 2009, then in 2011. Many of them have been referred to the secretariat of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)."

"General approaches committed to paper in these documents have repeatedly been worded in the formats of statements of the three co-chairs both at the ministerial level and at the level of the Russia, US and French presidents, since, the entire, so to say, carte is really on the table," Lavrov stressed.

The conflict between neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up 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 was called between Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh republic on one side and Azerbaijan on the other in May 1994.

Talks on Nagorno-Karabakh have been held on the basis of the so-called Madrid Principles suggested by co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, or Russia, France and the United States, in December 2007 in the Spanish capital.

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