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The Security Council of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) issued a statement on Friday regarding the meeting with the Azerbaijani side.

“We inform that in accordance with the decision made at the session of the Security Council of the Republic of Artsakh on February 28, 2023, a working group has been established, the purpose of which is to discuss URGENT humanitarian issues with the Azerbaijani side.  The head of the group is Samvel Shahramanyan, Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Artsakh.  In accordance with the agreement reached through mediation of the command staff of the peacekeeping troops of the Russian Federation deployed in the Republic of Artsakh, on March 1, 2023, at 11 a.m., a meeting was held at the headquarters of the peacekeeping mission with participation of the commander of the troops, Major General Andrey Volkov, which was attended by a similar working group formed by the Republic of Azerbaijan, headed by Ramin Mammadov, member of the Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan.  The following issues were on the meeting agenda: 

1. Ensuring uninterrupted supply of natural gas to the Republic of Artsakh and excluding further disruption of the gas supply; 

2. Ensuring the possibility of inspecting the section of the only high-voltage line entering Artsakh from the Republic of Armenia, which is under the control of the Azerbaijani armed forces, in order to carry out restoration works by the specialists of "Artsakh Energy" CJSC and restore the electricity supply to the Republic of Artsakh;

3. Conducting a one-time visual tour by an Azerbaijani specialized group on the territories of Kashen and Drmbon mines; 

4. Complete opening of the Stepanakert-Goris highway. 

In the opening remarks, the commander of the peacekeeping troops presented the participants of the meeting as parties of the Republic of Artsakh and the Republic of Azerbaijan. After that, the head of the Artsakh group clarified to the Azerbaijani side the powers of the group he leads, that is the discussion of the above-mentioned specific issues and finding solutions on them.  At the beginning of the discussions, the head of the Azerbaijani group tried to lead the conversation towards the need for integration of Artsakh people with Azerbaijan, presenting prospects of obtaining possible socio-economic benefits in that case. However, the head of the Artsakh group called for discussion on clearly defined issues. The latter also emphasized that these contacts on urgent humanitarian and infrastructural issues cannot address the main issues of comprehensive settlement of the conflict, and for this it is necessary to establish a format with broad international support. 

It should be noted that the other members of the Azerbaijani group were engaged in the discussion of the above-mentioned four specific issues and the search for solutions, accordingly, the subsequent course of the meeting was fully complied with the framework defined by the agenda.  As a result of the discussion of all the above-mentioned issues, specific agreements were reached, which the Azerbaijani side undertook to report to the higher authorities, and in the coming days to inform the Artsakh side about the results through the peacekeeping mission.  During the meeting, an agreement was reached on establishment of the stable two-way communication mechanism between the parties.  At the meeting, the parties agreed to publish only general information for the time being, given that the process is still in the working stage. However, shortly after the meeting, the head of the Azerbaijani group gave interviews on various information platforms of his country, in which he spread disinformation, completely deviating from the actual content and process, in particular announcing that the meeting discussed "issues of the reintegration of the Armenian population of the Karabakh region into Azerbaijan." Unfortunately, some representatives of the Armenian media took this trick of Azerbaijani officials and media, thereby creating a false impression that issues related to the comprehensive settlement of the conflict are allegedly being discussed in Artsakh-Azerbaijani contacts. Meanwhile, as we mentioned, the meeting on March 1, in which the commander of the Russian peacekeeping troops participated as well, was dedicated only to the discussion of steps aimed at lifting the blockade of Artsakh and relating issues.  Another misinformation of Azerbaijan, according to which the next meeting of the official representatives of the parties "may take place in Ganja or Aghdam" and without the participation of the Russian peacekeeping troops, is without substance as well.  We urge the public not to succumb to the fabrications of the Azerbaijani propaganda machine and to be sure that the public will be given exhaustive information about the above-mentioned process and its results,” the statement reads.

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