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Russia’s efforts create conditions for lasting settlement in Karabakh — diplomat

The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman recalled that over 3,000 refugees had returned to Nagorno-Karabakh since November 14
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova  Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Office/TASS
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova
© Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Office/TASS

MOSCOW, November 19. /TASS/. Russia’s efforts create opportunities for a lasting settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing in Moscow on Thursday.

She said that the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group were in Moscow on a visit on November 17-19 at the invitation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. They held consultations at the Russian Foreign Ministry, met with Defense Ministry officials and compared stances on further interaction by the "troika" of mediators for achieving a settlement of the Karabakh problem after the ceasefire.

Zakharova recalled that on November 18 the Federation Council (upper house) unanimously approved Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal for sending a Russian peacekeeping contingent to Nagorno-Karabakh.

"The measures being taken create conditions for a lasting and full-scale settlement of the crisis on a fair basis in the interests of friendly Armenian and Azerbaijani peoples," she said.

Swap of dead bodies

Azerbaijan and Armenia have swapped 385 bodies of those killed during the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh since November 13, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said. "Since November 13, 385 bodies of those killed have been handed over. This figure includes casualties on both sides." 

To date, over 3,000 refugees have returned to Nagorno-Karabakh since November 14, Maria Zakharova added. "The return of refugees to Nagorno-Karabakh is underway. Since November 14, some 3,054 people have returned to Nagorno-Karabakh," she said.

The diplomat noted that at the same time residents of the Kalbajar district arrive in Armenia en masse.

On November 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a complete ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh starting from November 10. The Russian leader said the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides would maintain the positions that they had held and some 1,960 Russian peacekeepers would be deployed to the region. Besides, Baku and Yerevan must exchange prisoners and the bodies of those killed.

The Kalbajar district is the first of the three territories to be controlled by Baku according to the tripartite statement. The transfer of the district should be fully completed by November 25.