Karabakh’s Opinion Important for Peace, Says Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a press conference in Yerevan on Jan 14, 2010

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday the Karabakh Armenians’ views “can not fail to be taken into account” during the elaboration of a comprehensive peace accord. “What form that we will take will have to be agreed on,” he added.

The Russian chief diplomat made his remarks during talks in Yerevan with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian that underscored Moscow’s support for an unconditional normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations and the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.

Neither he nor his Armenian counterpart Eduard Nalbandian commented on prospects for the signing of an Armenian-Azerbaijani framework deal this year. One of Lavrov’s deputies, Grigory Karasin, sounded cautiously optimistic on that score. “The process is difficult but it is moving forward,” Karasin told RFE/RL. “It is not stagnating.”

President Serzh Sarkisian’s press secretary, Samvel Farmanian, said later in the day that the Armenian leader will visit Moscow on Monday at Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s invitation. He told RFE/RL that Sarkisian and Medvedev could discuss the possibility of having another trilateral meeting with their Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev.

Commenting on the likelihood of fresh Armenian-Azerbaijani summits, Nalbandian said, “In the near future, those meetings could continue if we manage to maintain the positive dynamics that existed in 2009. That would help us move even closer to the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”

Lavrov also reaffirmed Moscow’s support for an unconditional normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations and discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.

“To try and artificially link those two issues is, in my opinion, not correct,” Lavrov said after talks with Nalbandian, echoing remarks made by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

According to the Armenian presidential press office, Lavrov cited those remarks, which reflect official Yerevan’s position on the matter, at a meeting with President Serzh Sarkisian later in the day. Both the Karabakh negotiating process and the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement were on the meeting’s agenda along with bilateral issues, the office said in a statement.

“We are grateful to the Russian Federation for its big efforts towards settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and relations between Armenia and Turkey,” Sarkisian was quoted as telling the visiting Russian official.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Nalbandian, Lavrov expressed hope that the Turkish-Armenian agreements signed in his presence in October will be implemented soon. “We are interested in this relationship normalizing,” he said. “The sooner that happens, the better for the whole region.”

While ruling out Russian mediation in that process, Lavrov said Moscow is ready to assist in the development of direct commercial ties between the two neighbors. He seemed to allude to the fact that Russian companies dominate Armenia’s energy sector and manage the country’s rail network. They are thus widely seen as key beneficiaries of a possible opening of the Turkish-Armenian border envisaged by the agreements.

Nalbandian, for his part, again warned Ankara against linking their ratification by the Turkish parliament with a Karabakh settlement acceptable to Azerbaijan. “I — and I think the international community — would not like to have the impression that Turkey is deliberately blocking the ratification process as it would mean that they are not fulfilling their obligations to ratify [the protocols] in a reasonable time frame,” he said.

Lavrov denied any connection between the timing of his trip to Yerevan and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Wednesday talks in Moscow aimed at cementing growing Turkish-Russian economic cooperation. He insisted that Moscow will not place its deepening ties with Ankara above an Armenian-Azerbaijani agreement reflecting the interests of Karabakh’s predominantly Armenian population.

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6 Comments

  1. Dave said:

    Gee, how nice of Lavrov to say some nice things about the people of Karabagh.
    I suppose his words  could have been stronger but then they may have offended Azerbaijan and. of course, Russia’s latest pinup boy: Turkey.  I await another Russian sellout of Armenia to the Turks, a la post WW 1.  By the way, I seem to recall that it was the brotherly Russians who gave Karabagh and Nakhichevan to Azerbaijan in the first place.  It is gauche of me to mention that?
    And it was the Russians who gave back parts of Armenia to Turkey.  Oh, forgive me, it was the Bolsheviks who did that.   I guess the Russians are just innocent darlings then.
     

  2. Vazken said:

    Are they deaf or ignorant for not hearing the two referendums loud and clear? the people of Karabagh  gave their opinion twice since the  independent- first referendum December 10 1991, and the second` I think it was in 2006.
    If they are honest, they should rephrase and say ” The Republic of Nagorno Karabagh should join-in the negotiations” or “Azery’s should sit down with Republic of Artsakh Representatives and talk” direct without wheelers and Dealers.

  3. Garen said:

    wow Bravo Admin…you respond to your readers I salute you…Love your Newspaper

  4. Papken Hartunian said:

    “He insisted that Moscow will not place its deepening ties with Ankara above an Armenian-Azerbaijani agreement reflecting the interests of Karabakh’s predominantly Armenian population.”
    This means that Moscow is for Turks than Armenians. I suspect soon we will face another set of protocols regarding resolution of Karabakh conflict.
    I hear very often from Armenian media that Armenia must pay for resolution of Karabakh’s conflict.  How many times we have to pay to have what we are entitle to?
     

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