Russian Diplomat, OSCE Envoys Discuss Nagorno-Karabakh

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko has discussed steps to implement agreements reached in Moscow between Azerbaijan and Armenia to reach a settlement in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh with U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Andrew Schofer and Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for Nagorno-Karabakh Andrzej Kasprzyk, TASS reported.

“The meeting discussed the situation developing in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. Possible steps were considered aimed at implementing agreements reached during the meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Azeri Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, and Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan in Moscow on October 10,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The parties also confirmed interest in continuing collective efforts aimed at easing tensions considering the provisions of a joint statement of presidents of Russia, the United States and France issued on October 1.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and this past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians.

As a result of the Russia-initiated consultations in Moscow Baku and Yerevan agreed to cease fire starting from 12:00 local time of October 10 for humanitarian purposes for exchanging prisoners of war and bodies. Either side accuses the other of violations.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of 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.