MOSCOW, February 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is ready to act as a guarantor of the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, if Armenia and Azerbaijan come to a compromise, an official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said Sunday. Mikhail Kamynin said the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was a cause of concern for all the Caucasus countries, including Russia.
According to Kamynin, Russia will continue its efforts to actively contribute to the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Kamynin said Russia's principled position on Nagorno-Karabakh was unchanged. "We proceed from the fact that Azerbaijanis and Armenians themselves bear the main responsibility for the choice of a formula for final settlement," Kamynin said.
"Russia would be ready to support the settlement option suiting the conflicting parties, and will act as a guarantor of the conflict settlement, if the parties reach a compromise, the Russian diplomat said.
Situated in southwestern Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh is a highly mountainous area predominantly populated by ethnic Armenians. The Armenian-Azerbaijani ethnic conflict intensified in the late 1980s during the final years of the U.S.S.R.
A 1994 ceasefire ended a six-year war, leaving Nagorno-Karabakh in Armenian hands, but tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia have persisted.