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The most right strategy in moving forward in Karabakh conflict settlement issue is moving by small steps, former U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Richard Hoagland told the Voice of America.

Stressing that after leaving the state service he presents exclusively his personal viewpoint, Hoagland said that the new authorities of Armenia have adopted right strategy in this regard.

“Nikol Pashinyan presents new generation, he has been elected by the new generation. I think the citizens of Armenia elected him as they want to see new approaches in different sectors of the country,” Hoagland stressed.

At the same time he expressed conviction that Karabakh conflict settlement issue is more complicated for Nikol Pashinyan. “After so many years Armenia’s leader is not from Karabakh, thus he must be very attentive not to make radical changes but approach the issue step by step,” Hoagland said.

The recent developments, including the dialogue between the sides and reduction of the number of clashes on the border gives room for cautious optimism, Hoagland said, but warned not to expect a serious breakthrough.

The peace plan proposed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to end the land dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) has not yet received backing by any of the conflicting sides to make a settlement possible, according to Ambassador Richard Hoagland.The document proposed by Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is based on Madrid principles with some differences.

According to him, "the failure to fix specific timeframes" in the document has caused the two sides to avoid accepting the proposal. Meantime, he stressed the importance of mutual confidence as a necessary precondition to approving the plan.

Hoagland expressed his optimism also about the recent developments in the process, noting that the mutual dialogues and the relative calm along the frontline inspire positive hopes for a solution.

He also praised the Armenian authorities’ tactics of heading towards progress with “little paces”.

The diplomat noted that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - the first Armenian leader in two decades “who is not a native of Karabakh” - represents the new generation which trusts him, expecting his new approaches to many spheres of public life.  

Hoagland said he has absolutely no doubt about Pashinyan's serious stance on the issue, and his understanding of its complicated nature.

He also highlighted other regional stakeholders’ possible positions on the unsettled conflict. While the diplomat is confident that Iran pursues a real interest in a peaceful outcome, he questions Russia’s actual expectations. In his words, the Moscow authorities are afraid lest they should lose an important leverage of influence in the region.

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