'Time of hope' for Karabakh deal, says Russian envoy

Wed 08 Jun 2011 05:15 GMT | 09:15 Local Time

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Russia's ambassador in Baku is hopeful that talks later this month between Azerbaijan and Armenia will lead to a resolution of the Karabakh conflict.

Vladimir Dorokhin told journalists today that Russia was working hard to find a settlement, APA reported.

“As one of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia is making efforts towards a solution of Azerbaijan’s most painful problem, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I cannot go into the details of the negotiations, but when we say 'Russia is doing its best as a mediator', we are not dissembling. As a result of the international efforts, there is a chance of reaching serious agreements and Russia is doing its best to use this opportunity,” Dorokhin told a press conference to mark Russia Day (which falls on 12 June).

The ambassador said that of the three countries co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group of mediators, only Russia was conducting negotiations at the highest level.

“There have been moments of disappointment in the negotiations, but now is a time of hope. Negotiations are being carried on, the co-chairs are in the region. The ministers will meet on 11 June, the presidents are expected to meet at the end of the month. I do not want to make predictions, but all this raises hopes for an imminent resolution of the conflict,” he said.

Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev is to mediate a meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents on 25 June in Kazan.

The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh began in 1988 when Armenia made claims on Azerbaijani territory. Armenian armed forces have occupied a swathe of Azerbaijani territory since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region, and seven surrounding districts.

Armenia and Azerbaijan are negotiating to resolve the conflict through the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs - Russia, France and the USA.

The nub of the conflict remains unresolved - the competing claims of territorial integrity, which Azerbaijan insists takes precedence in the case of Karabakh, and self-determination, which Armenia wants to see for the Armenians of Karabakh.





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