MOSCOW — On March 20, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow to discuss various issues related to their countries’ relations and regional stability. The meeting began with a private conversation and continued in an expanded format with the participation of their delegations.
During the meeting, the two foreign ministers discussed issues related to their countries’ cooperation within international organizations and regional stability and security. Minister Mirzoyan raised concerns about Azerbaijan’s aggressive policies towards Nagorno-Karabakh and the sovereign territory of Armenia and emphasized the need to condemn such practices and fulfill all obligations assumed by the tripartite declarations. The sides also emphasized the need to restore the Lachin Corridor regime in accordance with the provisions of the November 9, 2020 declaration.
Minister Mirzoyan also highlighted the need for effective actions by the Russian peacekeeping forces in Nagorno-Karabakh to prevent provocations from the Azerbaijani side, maintain the ceasefire regime, and ensure security in the region. He also called for the launch of relevant international instruments and an international fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh aimed at preventing Azerbaijan’s policy of ethnic cleansing.
The meeting also touched upon the latest developments in the process of normalizing relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. After the meeting, the two foreign ministers held a joint press conference to share the results of their discussions.
During the press conference, Lavrov expressed support for Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s position on the need for a dialogue between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Lavrov emphasized the importance of ensuring the quality of any agreements reached, citing the example of the Minsk agreements in Ukraine, under which the Russian-speaking residents of the eastern part of Ukraine were to have the right to their native language, to educate their children in their native language, to live and work in their native language environment, to preserve their culture, their religion, and other relations with their compatriots.
“Approximately, the same rights were provided in the agreement signed between Belgrade and Pristina 10 years ago, in the agreement on the establishment of “Kosovo Serbian local self-government bodies”. I think that the people of Karabakh need such a set of rights,” Lavrov said.
Meanwhile, Armenian Foreign Minister Mirzoyan criticized Azerbaijan’s leadership for escalating tensions in the region through aggressive rhetoric and military provocations against Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia’s sovereign territory. Mirzoyan called on Armenia’s allies and partners to take active steps to make Azerbaijan fulfill its obligations and stop the threats to use force against Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. He also called for the unblocking of the Lachin corridor, which has been closed by Azerbaijan since December 12, 2022, in violation of its commitments under the trilateral statements.
Lavrov stated that the Russian Federation is ready to assist Armenia and Azerbaijan in negotiating the parameters of a peace treaty, including the unblocking of transport communications and delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. He emphasized the importance of regional security issues and resolving the situation around the Lachin corridor and Nagorno-Karabakh. Lavrov reiterated the importance of the trilateral statements made by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia in stabilizing the situation in the region.
This seems to be an about-turn by Lavrov, but delivering this outcome is another matter. It all boils down to whether Russia will ENFORCE anything at all , on Azerbaijan. I think it is unlikely. If Aliyev won’t clear his troops ( the ones pretending to be Environmentalists) from the Lachin Road, then Russia must force them to do this, with its military . Again, I can’t see Russia doing this.