Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mamedyarov in Moscow, where he mentioned the importance solving the Nagorno-Karabakh problem.
Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region and some adjacent territory have been under the control of Armenian soldiers and local Armenian forces since a 1994 Russian-mediated cease-fire that ended the six-year war between the parties.
Since then Azerbaijan and Armenia have been hostile to one another due to the occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh oblast.
Lavrov said that Russia is intending to help settle the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, saying "we have been working in line with the agreements in the framework of co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk group with our American and French counterparts. Our contacts with them are permanent, and they contact us regularly, too."
Lavrov added that Russia will work together with Azerbaijan, saying "I believe the common approach is to move towards results. We shall be able to achieve progress of the kind in near future."
The de facto Nagorno-Karabakh Republic declared itself a republic through a plebiscite in 1992 in which only the local Armenian population voted, but it has never won international recognition as a state, even by Armenia.
Baku has demanded Yerevan return the quarter of its territory which is illegally occupied, including Nagorno-Karabakh, and remains part of post-Soviet independent Azerbaijan according to international law.
Russia's military and political support has so far protected Armenia from an attempt by Azerbaijan to recapture its lost territory, despite the fact that Azerbaijan’s military capacity has developed rapidly through the use of its substantial oil and gas revenues.
Armenia is the only South Caucasian member of Russia’s Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which is regarded by some as being Moscow’s new Warsaw Pact. Yerevan’s membership in the CSTO enables Russia to maintain its 102nd military base in Gymru near the Turkish border.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group - consisting of Russia, France and the US - acts as a peace-broker regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, but the bloc has not succeeded in resolving the dispute due to clashing interests of the parties in the South Caucasus.