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Russian peacekeepers deterred bloodshed against Karabakh residents, says Armenian diplomat

The involvement of international organizations in the effort to return Nagorno-Karabakh back to peace should not be politicized, Acting Foreign Minister of Armenia Ara Ayvazyan said

YEREVAN, May 6./TASS/. The deployment of Russian peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh helped to prevent further violence against local residents, Acting Foreign Minister of Armenia Ara Ayvazyan told a briefing with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Thursday.

"I want to note that the presence of Russian peacekeepers prevented any further atrocities against the residents of Artsakh (unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh republic)," the top diplomat said.

The involvement of international organizations in the effort to return Nagorno-Karabakh back to peace should not be politicized, he stressed. "During an exchange of opinions on the issue of involving respective international organization in the rehabilitation of Artsakh, I stated that humanitarian access to Artsakh must not be politicized, since we are talking about the protection of inalienable human rights, which should not be conditioned on status considerations," he added.

According to the top Armenian diplomat, the opening of communications among the regions will offer new opportunities. "Issues of security as well as regional development were in the focus of our discussion. It was noted that within the context of unblocking economic ties and transport links, that the opening of regional communications may create new possibilities, including for diversifying logistical ties between Armenia and Russia," he said.

"The trilateral statement [by the Armenian, Russian and Azerbaijani leaders] of January 11 establishes a clear framework of this process," Ayvazyan stressed. He also said that the republic was ready to work towards bolstering economic ties with Russia. "The level of economic cooperation dropped by 10% because of COVID-19. However, we are ready to take steps to boost economic ties [with Moscow]," Armenia’s top diplomat said, adding that a large Armenian diaspora in Russia could help in that.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, 2020, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku and Yerevan have disputed sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh since February 1988, when the region declared its secession from the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic.

On November 9, 2020, 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. According to the document, the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides stopped at the positions that they had maintained, and Russian peacekeepers were deployed along the engagement line in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachin Corridor that connects Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Also, some districts were handed over to Azerbaijan.