YEREVAN — Despite Azerbaijan’s unconstructive position, negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement should be continued, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said during a joint press conference with his visiting Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Yerevan on Tuesday.
“Armenia is willing to continue with the Co-Chairs, in a constructive manner, meetings at the level of foreign ministers and presidents,” Nalbandian stressed following talks with Lavrov in the Armenian capital. “We have never refused to meet at the level of ministers or presidents,” he added.
Lavrov arrived in Yerevan on Monday for talks with Nalbandian and Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian focused on bilateral relations as well as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement. The top Russian diplomat visited Baku on November 19-20 where he also discussed the conflict settlement with the Azerbaijani leadership.
Speaking in Yerevan, Lavrov reiterated that all elements of the settlement are on the table.
“There are all elements for a resolution of this problem. These elements are summarized in numerous documents that since 2007, 2009 and 2011 have been deposited with the OSCE secretary general. Thus they are fixed as the co-chairs’ proposals, they are still fully on the table and the only thing that I would like to underline, like I did in Baku, is that these elements have been formed into one package and it is very difficult to take one, two or three of them and say: let’s come to an agreement based on them. Because in that case their balancing elements will be left out and there will be no result that all of us expect,” Lavrov said.
According to the Russian foreign minister, it is important that the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan spoke positively about their last month’s meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, organized by the OSCE Minsk Group that Russia chairs jointly with the United States and France. “It is very important that this positive attitude should help us move forward in essence. The co-chairs are engaged in this. We, along with Washington and Paris, will analyze where we have reached, will try to make some active efforts to reach a settlement,” Lavrov said.
“I won’t be too optimistic, it’s a challenging task, and the whole experience of our negotiations comes to prove that they will not end quickly,” the top Russian diplomat concluded.
Later on Tuesday Lavrov was received by Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian. According to the press service of the Armenian president, the meeting focused on bilateral relations that Sarkisian described as “genuinely allied”.
Lavrov also reportedly praised the current level of Russian-Armenian relations and briefed Sarkisian on his talks with Armenian Foreign Minister Nalbandian during which, he said, they “reviewed all directions of our alliance and strategic partnership.”