A continued lack of further progress in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks could increase the likelihood of another full-scale armed conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a senior Russian Foreign Ministry official warned on Friday.
In an interview with the Azerbaijani APA news agency, Andrei Kelin, head of a ministry department on former Soviet states, also spoke out against Turkey’s involvement in international efforts to resolve the Karabakh conflict.
Kelin said that the conflicting parties still have “fundamental difference” on some of the key basic principles of a Karabakh settled favored by Russia, the United States and France. He declined to elaborate on those principles, saying only that “there are really not many of them” and that both sides should display a “political will” to overcome these disagreements.
“If we don’t do that, then the situation will probably continue to escalate,” Kelin said. “It is already quite tense, skirmishes on the line of contact are not subsiding, there are more and more [armed] incidents, and both sides are beefing up forces. Therefore, there are fears that sooner or later this escalation will develop into something more large-scale.”
The European Union’s special envoy to the South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, issued a similar warning during a recent visit to the conflict zone. Speaking to Reuters, Semneby said intensified skirmishes there risk spiraling out of control and called for the strengthening of the ceasefire between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces.
Kelin also made clear that Moscow is against Turkish involvement in the co-chairs’ activities. “Turkey has attempted to actively participate in this endeavor lately,” the Russian Foreign Ministry official told APA. “We consider that counterproductive because we have a unique situation in which the positions of the USA, France and Russia converge and … this allows us to guarantee that future agreements will not collapse. And France and the USA support us on this.”

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