MOSCOW, April 21. /TASS/. The initiatives on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue that Moscow put forward at a 2019 meeting of the top diplomats of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia are being actively discussed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during a video roundtable with members of the Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund on Tuesday.
"There are the Madrid Principles [proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group in Madrid in 2007 — TASS] and the documents that Russia prepared in 2010-2011, known as the Kazan Document. There are also the initiatives that were put forward at the Moscow meeting between the foreign ministers of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in April last year, which are being actively discussed," Lavrov pointed out.
He explained that the initiatives were aimed at "finding a solution through a staged approach." According to him, the first stage is supposed to consist of efforts to resolve the most pressing issues.
The Russian top diplomat was confident that the signing of the initiatives "would mark an important step towards the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions, which call on the parties to end the war and make agreements," he emphasized.
The highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh (or Mountainous Karabakh) is a mostly Armenian-populated enclave inside Azerbaijan’s territory. It is a self-proclaimed independent republic, not recognized by any of the United Nations member states.
In 1988, hostilities broke out there between the forces reporting to the Baku government and Armenian residents. In 1994, a ceasefire was reached but relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia have remained strained ever since.
Azerbaijan insists that its territorial integrity be restored and refugees return to Nagorno-Karabakh, which will create conditions for talks on the region’s status. Baku is ready to grant autonomy to the region but is unwilling to hold direct talks with Nagorno-Karabakh. At the same time, Armenia strongly opposes the region’s reunification with Azerbaijan and says that its right to self-determination should be considered.
Russia, France and the United States co-chair the OSCE Minsk Group, which seeks to broker an end to the conflict. The Group also includes Azerbaijan, Armenia, as well as Belarus, Germany, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Turkey.