Russia has never led the process of settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to just the return of seven provinces of the region to Azerbaijan and forgotten about the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. This is stated in the commentary of Russian Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, Special Assignments Ambassador at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Ambassador Igor Popov in regard to Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan’s article entitled “Origins of the 44-Day War”.
“The claim that Russia had offered to return the seven provinces “for nothing in return”, forget about the status and calm down doesn’t correspond to reality,” the diplomat said, adding that Russia’s proposals possibly imply a phased settlement plan, the last version of which was presented to the sides to the conflict by the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group in June 2019.
“The plan, which mainly coincides with the Kazan document, underlies the basic principles of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, including the return of five and then two regions to Azerbaijan, and I would like to emphasize that determination of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh is included. Among the other elements of the first phase reflecting the interests of Yerevan are recognition of the rights of Nagorno-Karabakh, the participation of representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh in the meetings of the OSCE Minsk Group, etc. Thus, the claim that Russia offered to return the seven provinces ‘for nothing in return’, forget about the status and calm down, doesn’t correspond to reality.
As far as the options for a solution to the issue of the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh are concerned, the proposals that were on the negotiating table over the past few years were envisaged as the ultimate goal. I cite the following: “Final determination of the legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh within a designated time limit, agreed upon by the sides and through a pan-national vote under the auspices of the UN or the OSCE.” Neither the Armenian nor Azerbaijani side rejected the proposals, even though there was no success in fully reaching an agreement, but the important thing is that the negotiations were held on a regular basis until 2018 when Yerevan set forth new approaches.”