YEREVAN — Russia will keep doing its best to ensure the full implementation of the Russian-brokered agreement that stopped the Armenian-Azerbaijani war in Nagorno-Karabakh, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a visit to Yerevan on Thursday.
“We are not reducing our efforts at returning all detainees to their homes, demining, preserving cultural and religious heritage as well as launching the work of relevant international organizations in Nagorno-Karabakh,” Lavrov said after talks with his Armenian counterpart Ara Ayvazian.
“We observe positive trends in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. The situation on the ground has significantly normalized. The Russian peacekeeping contingent acts as a guarantor of security, it is deployed along the line of contact and along the Lachin corridor. Minor incidents are being promptly and effectively resolved by our peacekeepers. They also pay constant attention to the completion of the exchange of prisoners of war,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov also noted that the trilateral working group at the level of deputy prime ministers “is working actively.”
“We are interested in this work to continue further, to promote the establishment of a dialogue between Baku and Yerevan to ensure sustainable economic development of the South Caucasus,” he stressed.
In that context, he stressed the importance of Russian efforts to get Armenia and Azerbaijan to open their transport links after decades of conflict. He said the trilateral working group formed by the Russian, Armenian and Azerbaijani governments for that purpose is helping to further stabilize the situation in the Karabakh conflict zone.
“The success of this work will be decisive for normalizing the overall situation and laying the groundwork for creative cooperation in the post-conflict period,” added Lavrov.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Lavrov, Ayvazian reiterated the official Armenian line that the conflict cannot be deemed resolved until the conflicting parties agree on Karabakh’s status, the main bone of contention.
“The principles of settlement have been worked out by the co-chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group, and we are interested in the farther strengthening of that format,” he added.
“The Armenian side shares the joint position of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries that special attention should be paid to achieving a final, comprehensive and sustainable settlement on the basis of the principles and elements well-known to the parties, “acting Minister Aivazian stated.
Meeting with PM Pashinyan later on Thursday, Lavrov said Russia will spare no effort to secure the release of the remaining Armenian prisoners. “We are confident that we will manage to solve this issue soon,” he said.
Lavrov also assured Pashinyan that Moscow remains “committed to ensuring the security of our ally, Armenia.”