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Caucasus: Russian peacekeeping role in Nagorny Karabakh possible - Ivanov

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Russia's defense minister refused to rule out Tuesday the possibility that peacekeepers from the country could be involved in efforts to resolve a long-standing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Sergei Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister, said: "Above all, political and diplomatic efforts have to be made to resolve the conflict, after which it will be possible to speak about a peacemaking operation, including with a role for the Russian Armed Forces".

The "frozen" conflict between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorny Karabakh, an Azerbaijani territory with a majority Armenian population, first erupted in 1988, when the region claimed independence from Azerbaijan to join Armenia. It evolved into a full-fledged war between the two countries in 1992-1994 after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

According to a provisional data, over 30,000 people died on both sides between 1988 and 1994, and over 100 others died after a ceasefire was concluded in 1994.

Ivanov is on a three-day working visit in Azerbaijan to discuss military-technical cooperation with Azerbaijan's leaders, and to make a tour of a radar station leased by the Russian Armed Forces.

Baku Today
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