Sergei Shoigu: Nagorno-Karabakh is very difficult operation

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Baku, 17 March 2021 –

Building relations between Russia and Turkey is a very difficult but effective work, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said in an interview with the Kazakh Tengrinews agency.

''If we talk about relations with Turkey, we have a very uneasy, very difficult, but very effective work. Collaboration. Difficult because there are those who hinder, and also the fact that Turkey is a NATO member hinders. Of course, this hinders, but in itself, I would say, it is even a unique experience, when one country is in NATO, another country is not a member of NATO,'' TASS quoted the Russian minister as saying.

According to Shoigu, Russia and Turkey manage to find compromises even where it seems impossible. He also recalled that Russia, together with Turkey, is conducting patrols in the north-east of Syria. ''And we are working together to fight terrorists ... we are working together with refugees,'' the Russian minister said.

In addition, Shoigu recalled Russian-Turkish cooperation to resolve the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. ''This is such a very difficult operation. That is what I would like to call it and nothing else. Because a huge number of arguments, elements, motives were involved in it. After all, you must agree, when two fraternal peoples, two close neighbours of ours are at war with each other, those with whom we lived, I repeat once again, and will continue to live in peace, harmony and friendship...

On the other hand, Turkey's involvement in this, so it was necessary to talk and deal with Turkish colleagues as well. Our President, who, believe me, made a titanic effort to make all this happen. And everyone had to be persuaded. That is, there was no one who would say: ''I agree, just convince them.'' No, we had to convince everyone, of course. And at our level, colleagues or defence ministers, we also spoke with our Turkish colleagues. What has been done today is, firstly, that people have stopped killing each other, and secondly, I hope that now is the time for them to switch to bilateral contacts and talk with each other, start talking. I mean Armenia and Azerbaijan.''

The Russian minister added that 'here ... a lot depends on the relations that have developed between Russia and Turkey. Also new players appear, old neighbours appear, but they appear with their proposals. I mean Iran. This is the development of infrastructure, this is the railway, this is hydropower and transport links. Many questions.''

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