Resuming dialogue between Azerbaijan, Armenia instrumental for Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement: Russian FM

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BAKU, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed here on Tuesday the importance of resuming people-to-people contacts for solving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

“Resuming dialogue between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh is instrumental for conflict resolution,” Lavrov told a press conference following a meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart.

“The closer people communicate with each other and the more objectively journalists cover what is happening on both sides of the contact line, the more stable the agreements we hope to reach will be,” he said.

He stressed that Moscow and Baku saw an opportunity for compromise in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Earlier last month, in a landmark exchange, Azerbaijani and Armenian journalists made mutual visits to the other side under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group.

Lavrov also expressed his hope that Azerbaijan, Armenia and the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries would adopt a joint statement on the conflict resolution.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov noted the significance of holding substantive negotiations on the conflict settlement.

Mammadyarov expressed his hope that the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, including Russia, would yield results.

Earlier on Monday, Lavrov acknowledged gradual implementation of confidence-building measures between the conflict parties during his meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

“I hope that a meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers later this week will help consolidate these processes,” he said.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a bitter dispute over the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh since 1988, when the region claimed independence from Azerbaijan to join Armenia.

Peace talks between the two countries have been held since 1994 when a ceasefire was reached, but there have been occasional minor clashes in the past along the borders.

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