MOSCOW — Russia is ready to promote efforts to repair relations between Armenia and Turkey, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Thursday, confirming that Yerevan has made a request for Russia’s mediation in the mending of ties with Ankara.
Maria Zakharova said during a weekly news briefing in Moscow that Russia is interested in this process and has made efforts on the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations before.
“Our country is ready to further promote this process in every possible way. The launch of this process, as we believe, would undoubtedly contribute to the improvement of the general situation in the region,” the diplomat said.
Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vahan Hunanyan told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service earlier this week that Yerevan had informed Moscow that it was ready for normalization with Ankara without preconditions and asked for its mediation in the process.
During the news briefing Zakharova also stressed that Russia is “taking all measures to restore economic ties and transport links in the region.”
“We are taking all steps to establish a peaceful life and strengthen stability in the region. Special attention, of course, is now paid to the restoration and development of trade and economic ties and transport links,” the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan reiterated Yerevan’s readiness to normalize its relations with Ankara during an online press conference on Tuesday, but he warned that such a process cannot take place if Turkey presses conditions like Azerbaijan’s getting an exterritorial corridor to its western Nakhichevan exclave via Armenia.
“We want to normalize our relations with Turkey. We cannot discuss any corridor issue. But we want to discuss opening of regional transport links,” Pashinyan said.
In an interview with Le Figaro earlier this month Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan revealed, however, that Ankara was setting new conditions for starting a dialogue with Yerevan, including the provision of an exterritorial corridor for Azerbaijan. He told the French daily that the demand for such a corridor was out of the question.
During today’s news briefing in Moscow Zakharova was also directly asked about whether there will be customs controls on the roads that would link Azerbaijan with its Nakhichevan exclave.
Zakharova replied by saying: “We see good prospects for unblocking transport links in the region, taking into account the balance of interests of all parties. We also proceed from the fact that international transportation along unblocked routes will be carried out on the basis of international agreements and national legislation of each of the parties.”