Source: President of Russia – The Kremlin – English
The meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak Novak AlexanderDeputy Prime Minister , Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev Zinichev YevgenyMinister for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Natural Disaster Relief , Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Lavrov SergeiForeign Minister of Russia , Finance Minister Anton Siluanov Siluanov AntonFinance Minister , Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu Shoigu SergeiDefence Minister , Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov Bortnikov AlexanderDirector of the Federal Security Service and Commander of the Russian Peacekeeping Contingent in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone and Deputy Commander of the troops in the Southern Military District Lt-Gen Rustam Muradov.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
I have called this meeting today to return once again to the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Conflicts like this, their settlement is particularly important to us. It has special significance for us and plays a special role. These are not empty words for us. I am referring to the fact that millions of Armenians and Azerbaijanis live in Russia. We are linked with their republics by centuries-long ties, without exaggeration. This also has a domestic political dimension for us and is very important for our domestic security and politics. The CIS is our foreign policy priority, an obvious fact for everyone. This matters a lot for the economy as well.
We all know well that we have special relations with these republics: deep cooperation and interchangeability. I will not list all the components of this extremely important direction on the CIS track.
As I said at the November 13 meeting, now the priority task is to support and help the residents of this region who sustained heavy damage from the hostilities.
An Interdepartmental Centre for Humanitarian Response is being created to resolve the problems at hand. I am aware that, given the tasks facing the centre, specialised divisions are now being formed.
I would like to take this opportunity to point out the precise and well-coordinated work of the Russian peacekeepers. Prompt demining has made it possible to establish reliable communications in the region, and deploying our peacekeeping forces made it possible to stop the bloodshed and avoid more casualties. Our military is maintaining effective control over the ceasefire, which is being observed by both sides. Overall, the situation has stabilised.
In addition, the Russian service personnel is escorting refugees and bringing residential buildings, roads, and social facilities up to code. They are ensuring security for convoys with humanitarian supplies as well.
Let me emphasise that our humanitarian efforts and aid should benefit both the Armenian and Azerbaijani peoples. We empathise with everyone who is in trouble.
You may be aware that I am in constant touch with my colleagues in Armenia and Azerbaijan. I agreed with both leaders that a Russian interdepartmental delegation consisting of the heads of a number of ministries and departments would be sent to Armenia and Azerbaijan soon. Its goal is to review the most pressing issues of implementing the trilateral statement of November 9, including, of course, humanitarian issues. I hope that the upcoming consultations will help us make significant progress in these areas.
Mobilisation and international assistance are of particular importance. Our peacekeepers have created the basis for this. I am aware that people in many countries are concerned about the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and empathise with the people in this plight. However, safe conditions for humanitarian organisations have been created, and there remains much to accomplish.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has the leading role here. Red Cross President Peter Maurer visited Moscow two days ago and confirmed the organisation’s readiness to step up its activities in Yerevan, Baku and Stepanakert while relying on support from Russia and Russian peacekeepers.
To be continued.