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.