MOSCOW – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov signaled lingering major obstacles to an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal late on Tuesday after hosting fresh talks between his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts in Moscow.
Lavrov described the trilateral talks as “useful” but reported no concrete agreements reached by the three ministers.
He said he stressed the need to end a grave humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh resulting from Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin corridor supposedly controlled by Russian peacekeepers. But he gave no indications that Baku agreed to unblock Armenia’s vital supplies of food, medicine, energy and other essential items to Karabakh.
In his opening remarks at the talks, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said the “illegal” blockade is “complicating the negotiation process.” Speaking at a separate meeting with Lavrov held earlier in the day, Mirzoyan expressed hope that “some solutions” to the crisis will be found during their discussion with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov.
The situation on the ground, in particular, Azerbaijan’s illegal closure of the Lachin corridor and blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh complicate the process of negotiations, Mirzoyan said at the start the trilateral meeting.
“Now there is a serious humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh. As I have already had the opportunity to notice – the situation is close to a real humanitarian catastrophe, and the situation is getting more serious by the hour,” he said.
Mirzoyan noted that neither food nor medicines are delivered to Nagorno-Karabakh, natural gas and electricity supplies have been disrupted for months.
“If we fail to find a solution and Azerbaijan does not stop the blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh, the humanitarian disaster on the ground will have its negative consequences on the negotiation process,” Mirzoyan said.
According to Armenia’s Foreign Minister, meetings and negotiations on all issues on the Armenian-Azerbaijani settlement agenda are quite intensive; on some issues there are concrete results, on some issues some prospects are visible, where the parties can come to a mutual agreement.
“But there remain, of course, problematic issues where the positions of the sides are still far from each other,” he said.
“We are in a constructive mood, we are negotiating on all platforms and in all directions,” Mirzoyan added.