Moscow has never reduced the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to the return of seven districts surrounding Karabakh to Azerbaijan, ignoring the question of its status, Russian co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Foreign Ministry Igor Popov has said.
His comments came in response to an article penned by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, in which he argued that the status of Karabakh had been left out of the agenda of negotiations.
"The assertion that Russia offered to return the seven districts "for nothing", forget about the status and settle down is not true," the diplomat said Wednesday, January 13.
In the article published on January 4, Pashinyan wrote: "In 2013, the now well-known Russian proposals appeared and were finalized in 2015, which provided for the return of 7 regions to Azerbaijan according to the 5 + 2 formula, the return of refugees and the deployment of Russian peacekeepers. The package of proposals has no mention of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, it bypasses this issue. The proposals were submitted to the Armenian side in January 2016. The Armenian side rejected them, and in April 2016 the Four-Day April War broke out.
Formally, after 2016 the negotiation process continued on the basis of the Madrid principles or their configuration, but there were Russian proposals, they existed and their presence was seen everywhere, at least in the logic that by 2018 the transfer of 7 regions had been the main, if not the only negotiated topic.