Russia said Monday that normalizing relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan is a foreign policy priority, adding that it is working intensely to avoid “potential for conflict” in the region.
The Russian foreign ministry issued a statement on Monday, after a week which saw tensions between Moscow and Yerevan flare over growing criticism by Armenia’s authorities, including Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who are claiming that Russia is not keeping its end of the bargain by not doing its part to end the now seven-week Azerbaijani blockade of Artsakh.
Moscow was also angered by the European Union’s decision to send a two-year civilian monitoring mission to the Armenian border with Azerbaijan.
“Russia, which directly borders South Caucasus, is interested in the stability and prosperity of this region, the mutually beneficial use and exploration of transport-logistics, trade-investment and technological opportunities. Our diplomatic efforts are directed toward that,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.
“We are intensively working toward overcoming the accumulated potential for conflict in the region. In this regard a priority task is the normalization of the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations. The basis of this is the statements signed by the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia on November 9, 2020, January 11, 2021, November 26, 2021 and October 31, 2022. We are convinced that the success of the process completely depends on strictly maintaining these trilateral agreements,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
The statement also highlighted the importance of the so-called “3+3 regional platform,” a scheme pushed forward by Ankara with the complete backing of Moscow that envisions Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Iran and Turkey forming a regional grouping for trade and other cooperation. Moscow on Monday describe the effort “as useful and relevant.”
While not many discussions have been held about the “3+3” scheme, Georgia has already signaled that it would not take part in such a proposal.
“Regarding the normalization of relations of Ankara and Yerevan, this initiative was launched under the auspices of Russia itself in January of 2022, when special representatives of Armenia and Turkey R. K. Rubinyan and S. Kilic first met in Moscow. We maintain close contact with both of them. We welcome the recent progress, which opens prospects for the restoration of the Armenian-Turkish ties, which would contribute to the further improvement of the regional situation,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said, referring to Ruben Rubinyan and Serdar Kilic who were appointed as special envoys for the process.