Foreign Ministry says agreement was step that allowed put end to bloodshed and established peaceful life in region.
MOSCOW (AA) – On the first anniversary of the agreement ending the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the Southern Caucasus, Russia praised it as “a step enabling an end to bloodshed and launching a process to establish peaceful life in the region.”
The agreement is generally being implemented, and Azerbaijan and Armenia – which waged the conflict – remain committed to their obligations under the accord, said a Russian Foreign Ministry statement.
A Russian peacekeeping force is also making “a significant contribution to stabilizing the situation and ensuring security in the region. Our Azerbaijani and Armenian friends appreciate this,” the statement added.
The peacekeeping mission contributed to organizing the exchange of detainees, with 105 captives returned to Armenia and 17 to Azerbaijan, handed to Baku three minefields maps, it said.
The mission assists in the delivery of humanitarian aid, mine clearance, and restoration of infrastructure.
“We continue to make efforts to resolve the remaining humanitarian tasks as soon as possible, including the release of all detained persons, assistance in clarifying the fate of all missing persons, the transfer of the bodies of the dead, and the provision of fully reliable maps of minefields,” it added.
The work continues on ensuring the safety of objects of cultural, religious, and historical heritage, it said.
The ministry vowed to accomplish the task of unblocking all economic and transportation links in the South Caucasus, and called on the speedy launch of joint Azerbaijani-Armenian projects aiming at uncovering the South Caucasus’ economic and transport potential “based on the balance of interests.”
The ministry stressed the importance of reducing tension on the Azerbaijani-Armenian state border and urged both countries to start the process of the border delimitation with subsequent demarcation as soon as possible.
“We are ready to provide all necessary advisory assistance,” it said.
The ministry emphasized the importance of involving in Nagorno Karabakh settlement international institutions such as the OSCE Minsk Group, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and UNESCO.
Russia will add “in every way” to normalizing relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and will support peace initiatives aimed at expanding contacts at all levels on issues of ensuring stability, security, and economic development of the South Caucasus, it said.
“We are also ready to promote dialogue between representatives of the public of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia with the participation of the Russian Federation in order to create an atmosphere of trust between the Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples.
“We stand for building good-neighborly relations between the countries of the South Caucasus and their neighbors, the development of mutually beneficial regional cooperation,” it said.
– Kremlin: agreement on Karabakh put end to war, paved way for peaceful life in region
In a separate statement Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the agreement on Karabakh is “extremely important” because it put to end the war and paved the path for peaceful life in the region.
However, the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan have no scheduled contacs today to mark the first anniversary of the agreement, Peskov said.
The latest large-scale clashes erupted in the Karabakh region on Sept. 27, 2020, when the Armenian army launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces, violating several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.
Azerbaijan then launched a counter-offensive operation, later dubbed “Iron Fist,” which led to the 44-day conflict ending with the liberation of Azerbaijani lands from the nearly three-decade occupation of Armenian forces.
On Nov. 8, Azerbaijan celebrated Victory Day on the first anniversary of the liberation of Shusha, the pearl of Karabakh, which played a crucial role in the fate of the Patriotic War, leading to the defeat of Armenian forces.
Shusha, Azerbaijan’s cultural and historical capital, was liberated after 28 years thanks to the army, mainly special forces teams, as heavy weapons and ammunition could not enter the city due to its geographical and natural features.
Azerbaijani forces entered Shusha, surrounded by a mountainous terrain and located on the top of a rock, with light weapons only and destroyed the Armenian army in a close battle.
The Armenian leadership had no choice but to accept Azerbaijan’s terms and withdraw from the occupied lands in the following days.
On Nov. 10, 2020, the two countries signed a Russian-brokered agreement to end the fighting and start working towards a comprehensive resolution of the dispute.