Sergey Shoigu: “It’s time for Azerbaijan and Armenia to move on to bilateral contacts”
In the process of further settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, a lot depends on relations between Russia and Turkey, General Sergey Shoigu, Defense Minister of Russia, said in an interview to Tengrinews.kz.
He noted that Russia is a multireligious and multinational country where many Turkic speaking peoples live, and a difficult but fruitful joint work goes on in relations with Ankara. According to the minister, on the one hand, the fact that Turkey is a NATO member is a disadvantage, but, on the other hand, it is a unique experience to find common grounds, carry on joint operations, and find compromises. “We search for alternate solutions. For example, take Idlib zone of de-escalation. In general, establishment of de-escalation zones in Syria is a new page and a new mechanism of settling such conflicts. We need to establish de-escalation zones for people to communicate. Today, Russia and Turkey jointly patrol North East of Syria. We fight terrorism together as well. We work together, frequently, we do it in the air area. We regulate and control many points of crossing and deal with refugees together,” Shoigu said.
The Defense Minister of Russia paid special attention to cooperation with Turkey in the sphere of settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: “It is a very difficult operation. A lot of arguments, elements, and reasons were used there. It is hard when two brotherly nations, two close neighbors, those who used to live and, I hope, will live together further in peace, agreement, and friendship, fight.”
“Our president made giant efforts to orange this [signing of the Trilateral Statement on Ceasefire on November 9-10th, 2020]. Moreover, we had to convince everybody. We convinced our colleagues, Defense Ministers. We talked to our Turkish colleagues. Today people don’t kill each other anymore. Now it’s time for Armenia and Azerbaijan to move on to bilateral contacts and to communicate. A lot depends on relations between Russia and Turkey, of course,” Sergey Shoigu stated.