A meeting on Friday between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov, hosted by their Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, was deemed “constructive.”
In a brief statement after the meeting, Armenia’s foreign ministry said “a constructive exchange of views took place on topics where the sides still have disagreements.” The statement added that the sides continued to work on an agreement to establish “interstate relations.”
Lavrov hosted Mirzoyan and Bayramov for a three-way talks, after which the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers held talks together.
Lavrov told reporters that Yerevan and Baku had narrowed their differences on a proposed peace agreement, but warned that such an agreement cannot be signed without the opening of transport routes between the two countries and the delimitation and demarcation of the borders.
“Work on the peace treaty is undoubtedly fundamental, however our partners confirmed today that without solving the issues of delimitation, unblocking transport and economic links and an overall improvement of the security situation in both Karabakh and on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border it’s very hard to make progress on concrete aspects of the peace treaty. We discussed all this together,” Lavrov told reporters.
The Russian foreign minister said that the commission tasked with unblocking transport routes is close to a proposing a final agreement and another commission set up to address the border delimitation issues will meet soon to coordinate that important facet.
“With the peace treaty and a number of issues that were discussed today, it was possible to bring the mutual understanding of both sides closer to a common vision,” said Lavrov
He said Russia’s role was to provide a platform for a bilateral meeting.
“We presented our approaches. We hope that this event will enable the ongoing talks between the [foreign] ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia to achieve practical results. We will continue to contribute to the progress in order to fully implement all the provisions of all tripartite statements, which are the basis for fully implementing the efforts aimed at the normalization of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations,” Lavrov added.
Lavrov also held separate meetings with the foreign ministers before the three convened together.
Mirzoyan expressed concern to Lavrov that the Lachin Corridor, which has been blockaded by Azerbaijan, is not under the complete control of the Russian peacekeeping forces, as envisioned in the November 9, 2020 agreement.
Mirzoyan and Bayramov met earlier this month in Washington for four days of talks hosted by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, ahead of a meeting between Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan in Brussels on Sunday, which was hosted by European Council President Charles Michel.
The Kremlin confirmed Friday that Pashinyan and Aliyev will meet with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on May 25, a week before the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders are slated to meet with Michel, as well as French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Sholz in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau (pronounced Kishniyev) on June 1.