Mikhail Shvydkoy: “There is still too much time to achieve full peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia”

  • 16:11 13 May 2019

Mikhail Shvydkoy: “There is still too much time to achieve full peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia”

”Nagorno Karabakh conflict and the issues related to this conflict are in the agenda of Russia. There is still too much time to achieve the complete peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia”, said Special Presidential Representative for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy to ONA’s Moscow Bureau. 

Commenting on the issue of the possible resumption of humanitarian ties between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the framework of the negotiation process on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Russian diplomat said that Azerbaijan was always ready to resume humanitarian ties: “We were on the line of contact establishing humanitarian ties between Azerbaijan and Armenia. We have witnessed how fragile the ceasefire is. When you walk along the line of contact, you understand the intensity of how fragile the ceasefire is. Until 2012, we held meetings of a humanitarian nature in various formats. There were meetings at the level of deputies, journalists and representatives of the intelligentsia and the arts on both sides. With my participation, this mission was carried out by the former ministers of culture of Azerbaijan and Armenia, and now the ambassador of Azerbaijan to Russia, Polad Bulbuloglu and Armen Smbatyan. At this meeting, I acted as a security guarantor. But in 2012 these meetings stopped. I want to say that the initiator of the termination of the meetings was not the Azerbaijani side ”.

M. Shvidkoy also explained why this issue was again on the agenda: “Because both peoples have accumulated a lot of grief. Azerbaijan has lost some of its lands. For many years the people saw how their lands remained in an uncertain situation. This is very hard grief. There are also refugees in Armenia who previously lived in Baku and other cities. Over the years, the hatred of both peoples to each other has become even greater. This must be spoken openly. The people should understand why certain decisions were made in a political settlement of the conflict. It is very important. Sometimes people ask me what is Russia's interest in this issue. The answer is very simple. Russia wants the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia to be resolved anyway. I believe that the conflict should be resolved taking into account the interests of both parties. But, I repeat once again, the parties hate each other so much that they need to stop it already. Because sooner or later, nations will have to accept some decisions of the leaders. Therefore, in a peaceful settlement of the conflict, the humanitarian mission is also very important. It is important that the intelligentsia of both countries urged the people to peace. Because it is representatives of the intelligentsia who form a thought that a simple person cannot express. Very often, it is they who make calls for war. It is very important that the intelligentsia gives its opinion, clarify how events will develop further. For Russia, peace in the South Caucasus, peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia is the greatest benefit. ”

M. Shvidkoy noted that the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict is also his personal grief: “I am sometimes told that you have a personal interest in resolving this conflict. Yes, I can answer that in a certain sense there is a personal interest. Because a lot of Azerbaijani blood flows in the veins of my grandchildren, there is little Armenian blood. Because in this life everything is confused. Wife of the youngest son from Azerbaijan, Baku. And I can say that the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict is personal grief for me.”

The Russian diplomat said that in June of this year he will go to Yerevan to determine the format of humanitarian relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia: “Today the Azerbaijani leadership is doing a lot to get out of this situation and resolve the conflict. You know, all wars end with peace sooner or later. We must learn to look at each other in the eye. Because they are forced to live together. Russia's position on this issue is simple. In this building, I, as well as the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, have their own common position. We are ready to provide any assistance. But for this, you need to understand the real format. I hope that in early June I will hold talks with colleagues from Armenia. Only after that, I can form something for my colleagues from Azerbaijan. In my plans is a visit to Yerevan in June, to understand in what format the Armenian side is ready for the realization of the humanitarian mission.

Because I know that the position of the Azerbaijani side on this issue is unambiguous. The leadership of Azerbaijan, President Ilham Aliyev intend to really resolve this problem. I am sure that he is ready to help the humanitarian mission. I know that for sure. ”