BAKU — Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov indicated on Tuesday Russia’s opposition to Azerbaijan’s desire to set up a checkpoint on the sole road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia which was blocked by Baku more than two months ago.
Visiting Baku, Lavrov said traffic through the Lachin corridor must be regulated in strict conformity with a 2020 Armenian-Azerbaijani agreement that placed it under the control of Russian peacekeepers stationed in Karabakh.
“[The Lachin corridor] functioning mode must be in full compliance with the 9-10 November 2020 trilateral statement, which means the need to ensure the free movement of exclusively civilian and humanitarian cargo and civilians. That’s what we are striving for, first of all through the Russian peacekeeping contingent. It is not envisaged to create any checkpoints there,” Lavrov said after talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov.
“But it is possible to dispel, by technical means, suspicions that the corridor is not functioning as intended. We discussed that today,” he said.
Lavrov alluded to Azerbaijani allegations that Armenia shipped landmines to Karabakh through the corridor in breach of the 2020 ceasefire brokered by Moscow.
Lavrov emphasized that Russia is ready to facilitate the conclusion of a peace treaty between Baku and Yerevan.
“We stressed the necessity of stepping up the work of the border delimitation commissions, which were set up with the understanding that Russia will provide consultative assistance to both. We are ready for this, as well as ready to facilitate the conclusion of a peace treaty between Baku and Yerevan,” Lavrov said.
He said that “our friends informed us today how they see the continuation of this direction of normalization efforts.”
Lavrov also said that Russia stands ready to host trilateral talks between Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia at the level of foreign ministers.
The Russian diplomat specified that the Azerbaijani side expressed its readiness to hold a new meeting in such a format. “The Armenian side said it had no objection either, but has not yet given its final consent,” Lavrov added.