Russia concerned over escalation of tension on Armenian-Azerbaijani border- Zakharova

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YEREVAN, July 22. /ARKA/. Russia is concerned over the latest round of escalated tension in certain sections of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Thursday.

She said it has an extremely negative effect on the regional situation and does not contribute to the normalization of the dialogue between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

‘Such cases lead to unjustified losses among the population of the two countries,” she said.

Since July 14, the village of Yeraskh in the Ararat region of Armenia, located along the section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, has been under fire from the Azerbaijani troops. On July 15, as a result of provocations by the Azerbaijani troops, a private of the Armenian Armed Forces was killed in this area, and on July 20, during a shootout at Armenian combat positions, the head of the Yeraskh community was wounded.

“Our position is well known – border incidents should be settled exclusively by political and diplomatic measures. It is very important that the sides refrain from confrontational rhetoric and forceful methods. It takes painstaking, but systematic work to find mutually acceptable compromises. In general, this is exactly what we are setting up both sides for,” the Russian diplomat said.

She stressed that the Russian Federation, which has close relations with both Armenia and Azerbaijan, pays special attention to the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and, of course, to the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, where the Russian peacekeeping contingent is stationed.

“The Russian side continues contributing to the maintenance of peace and stability, establishment of a peaceful life in Nagorno-Karabakh, the solution of pressing humanitarian issues, including the return of refugees, prisoners of war, the return and exchange of bodies of the dead,” Zakharova said.

She added that Russia is helping to build trust between Baku and Yerevan, and work continues to ensure access to the region for the mission of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UNESCO.

According to Zakharova, the key point is that the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan have confirmed their determination to continue joint actions in order to find optimal solutions.

‘They expressed their firm commitment to consistent and comprehensive implementation of the agreements reached on f November 9, 2020, which stopped the bloodshed, and on January 11, 2021, which opened up the prospect of unblocking communications in the South Caucasus region.

She said that the trilateral working group, established by the leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia and co-chaired by the vice prime ministers, held several rounds of substantive discussions and synchronized clocks on the ground, outlined several options for resuming transport and economic ties.

“We hope that in the near future it will resume meetings and move on to the phased implementation of joint infrastructure projects. And this fully meets the interests of both Armenia and Azerbaijan and the entire South Caucasus in general,” said Zakharova.

She said also that Russia is convinced that only the immediate launch of the delimitation of the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia with its subsequent demarcation can ensure sustainable de-escalation in the region.

“We are ready to reinforce these efforts with the cartographic information we have. The Russian side has prepared a number of documents that are capable of translating the discussions into a constructive channel,” she said.

According to Zakharova, at present, contacts on this issue continue at the level of the foreign policy, defense departments of the three countries (Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan), as well as through the border services of these states.

Also, Acting Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan on Thursday held a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss in detail a wide range of issues related to the region and of mutual interest.

They touched upon the progress in the implementation of the agreements reached within the framework of the trilateral statements of November 9, 2020 and January 11, 2021, in particular, the return of prisoners and the reopening of the regional roads.

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