Thursday, November 21 2019 12:59
Marianna Mkrtchyan

Minsk mediator: It is hoped that a substantive conversation will  resume between the parties to the Karabakh conflict in the  foreseeable future

Minsk mediator: It is hoped that a substantive conversation will  resume between the parties to the Karabakh conflict in the  foreseeable future

ArmInfo. It is impossible to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict without the consent of all interested parties. This was stated in an interview to APA by the  special representative of the Russian Foreign Minister for the  Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Igor  Popov.

"The opinion of the entire population of the region should be taken  into account. Indeed, according to all variants of the Basic  Principles of Settlement, refugees and internally displaced persons  receive the right to return to their places of former residence and,  accordingly, participate in determining their future destiny.  How  will this right be realized and when - it's up to the parties to  decide, "said Popov.  To clarify whether the Russian Federation  supports the idea of the Prime Minister of Armenia to change the  format of negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement and whether  there have been any changes in Russia's position, the Russian  mediator emphasized that Moscow's position on the negotiation format  has always been consistent.

"We have repeatedly said that the parties themselves must coordinate  and determine the composition of the participants. At the early stage  of consultations and subsequent negotiations, when hostilities  stopped, Nagorno-Karabakh was a party to the relevant agreements and  negotiations that began after the signing of the ceasefire agreement.  Then it was decided that Yerevan will represent the interests of  Karabakh. If, over time, the parties agree to include representatives  of Nagorno-Karabakh in the negotiation process, we will support this  decision "," said Popov.

At the same time, the Russian co-chair emphasized that Russia has  always taken an active mediating position. He recalled that  assistance to the parties in resolving this protracted conflict is  one of the unconditional foreign policy priorities of the Russian  Federation. "We are actively working in this direction. Among the  documents signed with the direct assistance of Russia is the 1994  Ceasefire Agreement, which is still the basis for a ceasefire. An  important stage in the mediation efforts of our country was the  adoption in 2008 of the Moscow Declaration, the first and so far the  only document on the NKU under which are signed by the leaders of  Azerbaijan and Armenia. As you know, it was Russia that played a  decisive role in ending the large-scale hostilities in 2016, inviting  the chief to Moscow general staffs of Azerbaijan and Armenia ", -  assured the Russian diplomat said.

At the same time, he stated that Russia carries out its mediation  mission in close contact with French and American partners. Popov  recalled that in April of this year in Moscow, Sergey Lavrov  organized a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and  Azerbaijan, which was also attended by the co-chairs of the OSCE  Minsk Group. "In order to build on the agreements reached between  Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan in Vienna this March, specific  proposals were worked out to create an atmosphere conducive to the  resumption of the negotiation process on the substance of the  settlement. Among them, measures to further stabilize the situation  in the conflict zone , facilitating the fate of persons imprisoned on  the territory of the parties. It was agreed on mutual trips of media  representatives, some key issues of settlement were considered. A  number of these proposals eny brought to life ", - said Popov. 

At the same time, the Russian diplomat stated that the situation on  the border and the contact line remains relatively calm, the hotline  between Yerevan and Baku has been restored, there is progress on  journalists.  "Zaven Karapetyan and Elvin Ibragimov, who were held  captive, were returned. Work on other prisoners is ongoing. The ICRC  is connected to it. We believe that all this indicates the intention  of the parties to take concrete steps aimed at preparing the  population for peace. However, the main topic of our mediation is  helping the parties in achieving a sustainable settlement of the  conflict, she was dedicated to more than two dozen tripartite  meetings with the participation of the President of the Russian  Federation, between which they worked and continue to work. There are   essential proposals supported by all countries-co-chairs ", - said  Russian co-chair.

At the same time, he informed that the new Armenian leadership needed  time to understand all the details of the difficult Karabakh process.  According to Popov, this topic was discussed during the last visit of  the Russian Foreign Minister to Yerevan. "There is hope that a  substantive conversation will resume between the parties in the  foreseeable period. For our part, we will provide the necessary  assistance together with the French and American co-chairs of the  Minsk Group," he said.

Touching upon the discontent of the Azerbaijani side in connection  with the activities of the Permanent Mission of Artsakh in Moscow,  Popov noted that Russia had repeatedly emphasized that the so-called  Permanent Mission of Artsakh in Russia was not registered with the  government of Russia as a diplomatic mission of a sovereign state,  since our country does not recognize Karabakh Republic. "Therefore,  any claims against the Russian side are unfounded. The detailed  answer to your question is contained in the comment of the  Information and Press Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry on  November 8 this year," Popov summed up.

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