MOSCOW, Russia(News.am)—“Armenia and Azerbaijan are still far from reaching an agreement on several key directions toward the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during Monday’s joint news conference with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov in Moscow, reported Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
“We hope that the Karabakh conflict will be settled,” said Lavrov. “This is proved by the results of the long years of contacts, owing to which a common understanding of key issues that are subject to settlement was managed to be developed. This, first and foremost, is both the security issues and the humanitarian issues. The matters of returning the regions which now are around Karabakh and are not controlled by Azerbaijan. This is also the matter of determination of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh; surely, by considering the people living there. This is also the harmonization of the standards of the international peacekeeping forces.”
“We have reached an agreement in most of these directions,” stated Lavrov.
“But two to three specific topics, which are crucial for the final package, are not yet discussed,” he added. “I will not lie. We are still far from the situation when the parties will develop a joint approach in these directions.”
During the press conference, Lavrov stated that Russia will help Baku and Yerevan reach mutually acceptable solutions to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, reported Public Radio of Armenia.
“Naturally, we spoke about the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. Russia will continue to help the sides reach mutually acceptable solutions both in its bilateral relations with Baku and Yerevan and in the formal of trilateral meetings between Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, and, of course, in its capacity as Minsk Group Co-Chair,” he said.
“We believe the Karabakh conflict can be solved,” Lavrov stated, as he believes the opinion is reinforced by the “results of long-term contacts, as a result of which common ground has been reached on a number of key issues of conflict settlement – security, humanitarian issue, return of territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, determination of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh (with the will of the people living there taken into consideration), defining the parameters of international peacekeeping forces, etc.”
Lavrov said there is understanding on a number of aspects of final settlement and added that “two or three key issues are still being discussed. “We are far from the point where we can see the parties develop a common approach towards the remaining issues,” he said.
The Russian Foreign Minister underlined that “before we can resume substantial talks it’s important to deescalate the situation on the line of contact and the public environment.”
He stressed the importance of confidence-building measures, including the agreements reached in Vienna and St. Petersburg and the proposals provided within the framework of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).