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Third parties to engage in Karabakh talks only upon Baku's, Yerevan's consent — Kremlin

Russia does not see any other possible ways to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict but through diplomatic means, the spokesman reiterated

MOSCOW, October 22. /TASS/. The involvement of third countries in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement will be possible only on the condition of consent from both parties to the conflict, Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov told the media on Thursday.

"As far as the participation of third countries in the existing settlement formats is concerned, it depends entirely on the political will of the parties to the conflict. There are two of them - Azerbaijan and Armenia. Participating in the conflict’s settlement, playing the role of a go-between or being involved in the formats in any other way will be possible only on the condition of consent from both parties," he said, when asked if Turkey might be plugged into Nagorno-Karabakh settlement efforts.

Peskov remarked that "for the time being it cannot be said that the previously achieved agreements on a ceasefire and a humanitarian pause are observed." "Regrettably, they are not observed by the parties," the Kremlin official said.

Seeing no alternative to diplomatic settlement

Russia does not see any other possible ways to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict but through diplomatic means and will continue to make efforts to achieve it, the Kremlin spokesman told reporters.

"Russia has been and is doing everything possible to steer the current situation towards a political and diplomatic settlement. We are still convinced that there are no alternatives to peaceful resolution of this issue," Peskov noted.

The spokesman added that the Russian side intends to "continue making efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement of this conflict." "There is no other option," he said.

Peskov refused to comment on the information that the Armenian side doubts any progress can be achieved through diplomacy. "The Armenian president should be asked that," he pointed out.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and this past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians.

Moscow brokered a humanitarian ceasefire that took effect at 12 noon local time on October 10 but was violated. Later, the foreign ministries of Armenia and Azerbaijan announced plans to declare another ceasefire at midnight on October 18, but the hostilities continue and the warring parties keep blaming each other for violating the truce.

The conflict between 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 primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs - Russia, France and the United States.