YEREVAN, January 18. /ARKA/. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced ‘certain progress’ in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement. According to Russian news agency TASS, that there has been progress is seen in the answers to media questions posted on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, prepared but not voiced at a press conference of acting Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“There is some progress in the implementation of the “small steps ”that the foreign ministers agreed on at a meeting in Moscow in April 2019 to carry out the agreements reached between the President of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia in Vienna in March 2019.
The situation on the border and the contact line is relatively calm and the hot telephone line between Yerevan and Baku is functioning,” the Russian ministry noted.
“We believe that all this testifies to the intention of the parties to take concrete steps aimed at preparing the population for peace.”
“However, no progress has yet been made regarding the essence of the settlement,” the foreign ministry added, expressing hope for a resumption of substantive conversation between the countries.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict erupted into armed clashes after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s as the predominantly Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan sought to secede from Azerbaijan and declared its independence backed by a successful referendum.
On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the military operations. A truce was brokered by Russia in 1994, although no permanent peace agreement has been signed. Since then, Nagorno-Karabakh and several adjacent regions have been under the control of Armenian forces of Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh is the longest-running post-Soviet era conflict and has continued to simmer despite the relative peace of the past two decades, with snipers causing tens of deaths a year.
In the early hours of April 2, 2016 Azerbaijan, in gross violation of the agreements launched a large-scale offensive along the entire Line of Contact between the armed forces of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan, using heavy weaponry, artillery and combat aircraft. Only thanks to the decisive actions of the Defense Army, which gave a fitting rebuff, on April 5, Azerbaijan was forced to ask, as in 1994, through the mediation of the Russian Federation for the cessation of the hostilities. It has been generally maintained, despite the recurrent violations by the Azerbaijani side.