Oskanian Discusses Karabagh on Russia Visit

MOSCOW (RFE/RL)–The Mountainous Karabagh conflict and economic issues were key during Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s talks with senior Russian officials in Moscow on Tuesday.

Oskanian met with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and high-level lawmakers during his visit to the Russian capital.

"We discussed the Karabagh problem and can talk about some positive movemen’s there," Lavrov told a joint news conference with his Armenian counterpart. He cited the recent series of meetings between the Armenian and Azeri foreign ministers as well as the "more active" work of the Russian–French and US co-chairs of the OSCE’s Minsk Group.

Both Lavrov and Oskanian would not go into details of their discussions on Karabagh. The latter said only that he is "very satisfied" with the results of the talks. "This shows that the agenda of our dialogue is quite extensive and deep."

A separate statement by the Armenian Foreign Ministry said Oskanian briefed Lavrov on his trilateral meeting in Istanbul last week with the Azeri and Turkish foreign ministers.

The statement said Russian-Armenian commercial ties was another major topic of the Moscow talks–with both sides agreeing on the need for "restoring transportation means" between the two allied states. "The Russian side promised to keep the issue at the center of its attention," it said.

Oskanian was also cited as calling for a "prompt revival" of the five state-run Armenian enterprises that were handed over to Russia last year as part of a swap agreement to settle Yerevan’s $100 million debt to Moscow.

This was Oskanian’s first official visit to the country since becoming Armenia’s foreign minister in 1998.

Lavrov–who was the Kremlin’s longtime representative to the United Nations before becoming foreign minister recently–used the opportunity to reveal his ethnic Armenian roots to journalists. "I have Armenian blood," he announced. "My father is an Armenian from Tbilisi."

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