YEREVAN—During a meeting with President Serzh Sarkisian Friday, visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov mentioned three parties involved in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict—Armneia, Azerbaijan and the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.
“I can not decide for Armenia, Azerbaijan, or for the people of Karabakh, but I think if we could move forward a little bit in the political process, if we outlined the general principles that the parties could accept as the basis for the preparation of legally binding documents, that would not only play an important role in resuming negotiations, but also serve as a deterrent to prevent outbreaks of violence,’ Lavrov was quoted as saying by Sarkisan’s press office.
“But I would like to repeat that a solution to the conflict can be achieved only by the parties themselves,” he said, adding that Russia tried and will be trying to help with the other two OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairmen to reach a peace deal.
“We have a common position, and, as I understand it, Armenia supports the co-chairs’ mission of the main peace broker along with the OSCE in accordance with the mandate that the parties have agreed to provide it with. We do not support attempts to seek some parallel channels, to create mechanisms that do not enjoy the confidence of all the parties,” Lavrov said.
Sarkisian in his turn asked Lavrov’s opinion as to why Azerbaijan so brutally attacked the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic on April 1.
“Of course, we have our perspective, but you are much more informed, and therefore we would be grateful if you outlined your vision as well,” Sarkisian said. The President’s office did not specify what Lavrov’s response was to this inquiry.
Lavrov also met with his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian to whom he made clear that the current priority in the Karabakh conflict was to ensure complete commitment to the 1994 cease-fire agreement, which was signed between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Lavrov stressed the importance of the earliest implementation of confidence-building measures.
As for Turkey’s statements that followed the escalation along the Nagorno Karabakh line of contact, the Russian Foreign Minister said they are completely unacceptable, for one reason.
“The statements were a call for war, not peace,” Lavrov said. “Those were calls to solve the conflict in a military way. This contradicts the position of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the position of the international community.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry also issued a statement, in which it emphasized, apparently to Azerbaijan, that there were no statutes of limitations on the 1994 cease-fire agreement, urging all to respect the provisions of that document.