MOSCOW — The hostilities in Nagorno Karabakh increased the risk of terrorism, Russian President Vladimir Putin said addressing the CIS summit.
“The clashes, unfortunately led to numerous human casualties, exacerbated the already difficult situation in the South Caucasus, and increased the risks of the spread of the terrorist threat,” Putin stated.
“Russia has undertaken certain mediating efforts to stop the bloodshed in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, achieve a complete ceasefire and begin the stabilization process. At the same time, we tried to follow the key agreements reached in the OSCE Minsk Group, in particular, between its co-chairs – the Russian Federation, France and the United States of America,” the Russian President said.
He attached importance to the fact that the statement signed on November 9 is being consistently implemented.
“The Russian peacekeepers deployed along the line of contact are doing everything to prevent a new aggravation of the situation. Now, the international community and, undoubtedly, all our countries are faced with the important task of helping the affected areas in solving humanitarian problems associated with, among other things, the return of refugees, in restoring the destroyed infrastructure, in the protection and restoration of historical, religious and cultural monuments,” Putin stated.
On Thursday, Putin stated that the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must respect the Russian-brokered agreement to stop the Armenian-Azerbaijani war and not try to change the status quo.
“We agreed within the framework of the trilateral statement [issued by the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan on November 10] to stop hostilities,” Putin told a marathon news conference held outside Moscow. “And, what is very important, we agreed that the parties will stop at the positions where they were when our trilateral statement was signed.”
“Everybody must stop there,” he added, answering a question about whether Armenian forces should also withdraw from Karabakh in addition to surrounding districts recaptured by or handed over to Azerbaijan.
The Armenian side accused Baku of violating the ceasefire agreement after Azerbaijani forces captured at the weekend the last two Armenian-controlled villages in Karabakh’s Hadrut district which was occupied by them during the six-week war. Russian peacekeepers intervened to stop further fighting in the area.
Putin expressed hope that there will be no more truce violations in the conflict zone and that the parties will resume peace talks mediated by the Russian, French and U.S. co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.
The truce accord says nothing about Karabakh’s future status. Putin reiterated that it must be determined in the future.
“The status of Karabakh itself must remain unchanged. That is, the status quo must be fixed along with the mandatory creation of communication possibilities between Armenia and Karabakh,” he said.
Putin noted that Karabakh is a part of Azerbaijan “from the international legal standpoint.” “But the situation is much more complex than the normative postulates … The Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh had taken up arms to protect their life and dignity,” he stressed.