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Kremlin spokesman declines to speculate about peacekeeping mission in Nagorno-Karabakh

The presidential press secretary stressed that peacekeepers are always deployed to conflict zones only upon the consent of both opposing parties

MOSCOW, October 30. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been discussing a wide range of issues concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.

When commenting on Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s statement in which he had supported the idea of deploying Russian peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh, Peskov pointed out that "peacekeepers are always deployed to conflict zones only with the consent of both opposing parties."

In response to a question whether Russia was ready to send peacekeepers to the region if Azerbaijan gave its consent, the Russian presidential spokesman said: "I would refrain from making speculations on the issue at the moment." "The president discusses a wide range of issues related to resolving the conflict with his colleagues in Baku and Yerevan," Peskov stressed, when asked if Putin had discussed Russia’s possible peacekeeping mission in Nagorno-Karabakh with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Yerevan and Baku on peacekeeping mission

The Armenian prime minister said earlier in an interview with the Daily Telegraph that the deployment of Russian peacekeepers would be the best solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. However, according to Pashinyan, the problem is that a Russian peacekeeping mission has to be approved by all parties to the conflict.

Azerbaijan does not rule out possible deployment of international observers or peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh but plans to lay down some conditions, the country’s President Ilham Aliyev told Japan’s Nikkei newspaper. In his view, both parties need to agree on the mission’s members.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians. Baku and Yerevan made ceasefire agreements three times but hostilities continue.

The conflict over 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.