Minsk Group Russian Co Chairman Replaced

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–The Russian co-chairman of Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe–which has worked for years to broker a peaceful settlement to the Karabagh conflict–Nikolay Gribkov will be replaced by Yuri Merzlyakov.

Merzlyakov has served as the Russian ambassador to Kazakhstan and led the Russian delegation during multilateral negotiations on the division of the Caspian Sea.

Azeri officials reacted to the news by saying that the Karabagh peace process would not be impacted by the replacement because "unlike the American or French diplomats–any Russian representatives is aware of the nature of Karabagh conflict–its history and characteristic–so it would not be difficult to get involved in the process of regulation," reported the Russian Interfax news agency.

The head of Azerbaijani foreign relations department Novruz Mamedov commenting on past Russian Minsk co-chairs referred to Vladimir Kazimirov as "known by his Armenia-biased position. His statemen’s are groundless. Only the opinion of the newly appointed Russian co-chairman of Minsk group is important."

According to Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Vilayat Guliev–Merzlyakov will pay a visit to Baku in the mid-September.

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