YEREVAN — Without the consent of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh it would not be possible to formalize any peace agreement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday in Yerevan at a joint press conference with his Armenian counterpart Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. Sergey Lavrov arrived on a two-day official visit to Yerevan on November 10.

“Everyone understands that without the consent of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, it will not be possible to formalize any peace agreement. Armenia simply will not sign it. This is the point we proceed from. I want to repeat what Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at our meeting: he recalled one of his public statements in which he said that the final peace agreement should take into account the interests of Armenia, Karabakh, and Azerbaijan. It’s hard to argue with that,” Lavrov said.

Asked about his own vision of how the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict could be solved in view of the fact that Azerbaijan insists that its territorial integrity can not be violated, Lavrov repeated Pashinyan’s formula that the agreement should take into account the interests of all three parties.

Lavrov said also that the principles of territorial integrity, the right of peoples to self-determination and exclusively peaceful settlement of disputes are enshrined in all versions of documents that are discussed between the parties. In any case, the final decision must take into account all these principles. Neither Yerevan nor Baku argue with this,” Lavrov said.

The Russian Foreign Minister noted that the Minsk Group co-chairs are trying to ensure that this compromise is honest and reflect a real, fair balance of interests.

During the press conference it was also announced that in the near future Yerevan and Moscow will sign a memorandum that will allow Russian specialists to access biological laboratories established in Armenia with U.S. assistance.

Lavrov arrived in Armenia on Sunday. The same day in Yerevan together with his Armenian counterpart Mnatsakanyan he attended the opening of an exhibition dedicated to the approaching 75th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

In his remarks Lavrov highlighted the role of Armenians in the fight against Nazism.

“The Armenian people are rightfully proud of their heroes, who made an invaluable contribution to the common cause of the defeat of Nazism,” Lavrov said.

According to Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mnatsakanyan, for his part, stressed that “May 9 is our common holiday, our common day of remembrance of how we fought shoulder to shoulder and strove together towards victory.”

“This victory is the joint achievement of all the peoples of the former Soviet Union, as well as the nations of the anti-Hitler coalition. This is truly a world holiday, as the Great Patriotic War – the Second World War was a struggle for the future of mankind,” Mnatsakanyan added.

He emphasized that Armenians have a special attitude towards Victory Day and the heroism displayed by the people of the USSR during the Great Patriotic War. “The Armenian Diaspora also took part in the fight against Nazism. Its representatives were part of Resistance movements, fought as part of Allied forces, raised funds to help the Red Army,” Mnatsakanyan stressed.

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