SOCHI, August 10 /ITAR-TASS/. Patience, wisdom and respect for each other are required to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday.
“We should display patience, wisdom and respect for each other to find a solution,” Putin said at a meeting with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliyev.
Putin praised the intention by both the Armenian and Azeri presidents to settle the problem peacefully,
“This is actually the main thing because there can be no greater tragedy than the death of people,” the Russian president said, adding that the long-standing Karabakh territorial dispute was a legacy of the Soviet Union.
“No doubt, any complex situations can be resolved, if there is good will. Such good will exists both on the part of the Azerbaijani people and the Armenian people,” the Russian president said.
The Armenian president said he hoped the Nagorno-Karabakh territorial dispute would be settled by peaceful means soon.
“We believe that the conflict should be settled on a compromise basis, using the principles proposed to us by the Minsk Group co-chairmen,” Sargsyan said.
The Armenian president said that the Karabakh conflict had “no military solution.”
In turn, the Azeri president said that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be settled on a compromise basis laid by the OSCE Minsk group.
“We hope that soon, by means of negotiations, by peaceful means, we shall find a solution to comply with international law and with justice,” Aliyev said.
Putin held bilateral talks with Aliyev and Sargsyan on Saturday afternoon, the Russian president said.
International formats exist for solving the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, the Russian president said.
“No doubt, we treat all these international formats with respect and will continue work with our colleagues,” Putin said.
Tension has heightened in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict area lately. Both sides numerously violated the ceasefire regime, inflicting causalities on each other.
Twelve Azerbaijani army servicemen were killed and several more wounded as a result of the conflict escalation in early August, according to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.
Also, a 25-year-old Armenian serviceman was killed in a shootout in early August, spokesman for the Armenian defense minister Artsrun Oganesian earlier said.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began on February 22, 1988. On November 29, 1989 direct rule in Nagorno-Karabakh was ended and Azerbaijan regained control of the region. However, a joint session of the Armenian parliament and the top legislative body of Nagorno-Karabakh later proclaimed the unification of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.
On December 10, 1991, Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh held a referendum, boycotted by local Azeris, which approved the creation of an independent state.
The struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh escalated after both Armenia and Azerbaijan obtained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. By the end of 1993, the conflict had caused thousands of casualties and created hundreds of thousands of refugees on both sides. An unofficial ceasefire was reached on May 12, 1994.
As of August, 2008, the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group were attempting to negotiate a full settlement of the conflict. On August 2, 2008, Aliyev and Sargsyan travelled to Moscow for talks with Dmitry Medvedev, who was Russian president at the time. As a result, the three presidents signed an agreement that calls for talks on a political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.