Russia calls on Azerbaijan, Armenia to refrain from steps escalating tensions in 'line of contact'

Baku and Yerevan accused each other of opening fire on border settlements.

Russia calls on Azerbaijan, Armenia to refrain from steps escalating tensions in 'line of contact'

A top Russian official called on Azerbaijan and Armenia to refrain from steps toward escalating tensions, as Baku and Yerevan accused each other of opening fire on border settlements.

"We continue to call on both sides to refrain from dangerous actions and steps that could lead to escalating tensions on the line of contact," Russian Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a briefing on Monday.

The statement came as the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia are expected to meet in Washington under the “initiative and participation of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken,” a statement from the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry noted.

Peskov further noted the significance of the joint statement agreed on with Azerbaijan and Armenia during the Oct. 31 trilateral talks in the Russian city of Sochi.

“Indeed, the statement adopted following the results of the trilateral meeting in Sochi emphasized the intention of the parties, Azerbaijan and Armenia, to settle (the disputes) exclusively by political, diplomatic, and peaceful means,” Peskov expressed.

During the briefing, Peskov also promised to announce this week the travel plans of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Indonesian city of Bali to attend the G-20 summit, adding that Putin does not plan to go to the East Asia Summit, which will be held in November.

Separately, Peskov reiterated Russia’s openness for negotiations with Ukraine, though indicating that “they are now impossible due to Kyiv's refusal.”

Leaders of Azerbaijan, Russia, and Armenia agreed to reaffirm their commitment to a comprehensive normalization of Baku-Yerevan relations, and to ensure peace, stability, security, and sustainable economic development of the South Caucasus after the trilateral talks in Sochi.

During the talks, the leaders agreed to refrain from the use or threat of force to discuss issues and resolve them “solely on the basis of mutual recognition of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of borders, in accordance with the UN Charter and the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1991,” a joint statement said.

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

In fall 2020, in 44 days of clashes, Baku liberated several cities, villages, and settlements from Armenian occupation, ending in a Moscow-brokered truce. The peace agreement is celebrated as a triumph in Azerbaijan.

Hüseyin Demir

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