Maria Zakharova: it's madness to ask people whether they are for Armenia or Azerbaijan
The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, criticized some of the Russian media, which used the April escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to further incite ethnic hatred.
Zakharova also stressed that the media are obliged to respect the laws of the host country. "It's what we always say and what we want from our media," the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza cited her as saying.
"Apart from the fact that the media must be independent and cover problematic issues in the first place, it is important to understand that when it comes to a long-term conflict, during which a large number of people are killed, especially in the acute phase of the conflict, one cannot take someone's side. I openly talk about it: the materials, I cannot even call them 'reports', when, for example, they ask people a question: "Whose side are you on, Armenia or Azerbaijan?" It's crazy! It's scary, because such things are published when the efforts of the sensible part of the international community, in addition to some very talented international players, are intending, firstly, to stop the violence, secondly, to stop the loss of lives, and thirdly, to prevent the conflict from growing even more," Maria Zakharova pointed out.
As the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry said, such materials cannot be called the journalistic work. "It can be used solely for the purpose of incitement of hatred between peoples. It is less about the expansion of the conflict, and more about incitement of strife. For many years we have been engaged in the convergence of positions of the sides at all possible levels — the special representatives level and so on — and in general we have always urged to enter a new level of understanding. And such 'reports' are not allowed: everyone needs to understand his responsibility at the moment," the diplomat called on.
Recall, Zakharova also said that the Russian leadership is making significant efforts to restore the ceasefire regime in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. "Within a few hours Sergey Lavrov will travel to Baku. Taking the recent developments into account, his visit is particularly relevant," she said.
Answering a question from Trend's Orhan Elchuev about the possibility of the sides returning to the negotiating table after a major escalation of violence since the ceasefire agreement in 1994, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman pointed out that there is no other way of settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, apart from peacefully.
Recall, on the night of April 2 all frontier positions of Azerbaijan were exposed to heavy fire from large-caliber weapons, mortars, grenade launchers and guns. In addition, Azerbaijani settlements near the front line, densely populated by civilians, were shelled.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20% of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US, are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.