Maria Zakharova: Russia welcomes initiatives aimed at establishing lasting peace and good-neighborly relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia

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YEREVAN, April 16. /ARKA/. Maria Zakharova, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, spoke about a possible peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan at a press briefing the day before, when asked whether there was a vision of its content against the background of statements made earlier by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Aliyev said on April 14 that he expected the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs to come up with proposals about how to build peaceful life in the region. He also stated that the possibility of concluding a peace agreement with Armenia was not excluded, “if there are positive signals from Armenia.”

At the same time, Aliyev again called Zangezur (Syunik region of Armenia) and Yerevan “historical territories of Azerbaijan” and promised to “return there.”

“We cannot but welcome the initiatives aimed at establishing lasting peace and good-neighborly relations between Baku and Yerevan,” Zakharova said.

She said the agreements reached by the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia on November 9, 2020 and January 11, 2021, serve as a reliable basis for establishing lasting peace in the region. She stressed that the Russian side is ready to provide all kinds of assistance to such processes.

“Of course, Azerbaijan and Armenia are only at the beginning of a difficult path towards establishing the necessary level of mutual trust, normalizing bilateral relations. It is important that this movement forward be accompanied by a positive background, including the informational one,” Zakharova said.

She noted that while building interaction with Azerbaijani and Armenian friends, Russia emphasizes that the stability and sustainable economic development of the South Caucasus meets the interests of all Russia’s partners in this region.

“We expect that in practical matters the parties will strive for steps aimed at normalizing relations and creating an atmosphere of trust, and not new dividing lines,” Zakharova said.

On September 27, 2020, Azerbaijani armed forces, backed by Turkey and foreign mercenaries and terrorists, attacked Nagorno-Karabakh along the entire front line using rocket and artillery weapons, heavy armored vehicles, military aircraft and prohibited types of weapons such as cluster bombs and phosphorus weapons.

After 44 days of the war, on November 9, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a statement on the cessation of all hostilities. According to the document, the parties stopped at where they were at that time. The town of Shushi, the districts of Agdam, Kelbajar and Lachin were handed over to Azerbaijan, with the exception of a 5-kilometer corridor connecting Karabakh with Armenia.

A Russian peacekeeping contingent was deployed along the contact line in Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor. Internally displaced persons and refugees are returning to Karabakh and adjacent regions, prisoners of war, hostages and other detained persons and bodies of the dead are being exchanged.

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