MOSCOW (Combined Sources)—Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday said that the status quo in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was “unacceptable,” while his Azeri counterpart, Elmar Mammadyarov said Baku would push for peace after the presidential elections there slated for the fall.
“The status quo is definitely unacceptable to anyone, first of all to Azerbaijan and Armenia, and those who live in Nagorno Karabakh,” said Lavrov, according to the Russian RIA Novosti news agency.
Lavrov, who was hosting Mammadyarov in Moscow, added that the current status quo continued Armenia’s economic blockade.
Lavrov said that stability in the Caucasus is one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities. Therefore, Russia will spare no effort to help solve the situation.
“We’ll do our best to create all necessary conditions for the resolution of this issue,” the Russian Minister added. He informed that the Minsk Group Co-Chairs will arrive in the region tomorrow.
“[Presidential] elections have already taken place in Armenia, and they will be held in Azerbaijan at the end of this year, and I think that it will be necessary to redouble our efforts so that there is progress in this difficult but solvable conflict,” Mammadyarov said, according to RFE/RL.
Mammadyarov downplayed the significance of the talks last week with Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian, which took place in Krakow, Poland. Mammadyarov said that the Karabakh peace process remains effectively deadlocked. “No concrete issues have been discussed in the last one and a half years despite meetings of the [foreign] ministers,” he said.
“We did not manage to reach agreements at that stage,” the Russian minister said. “But we noted with Mr. Mammadyarov today a convergence of our views that those meetings were highly useful for clarifying details in which, as you know, the devil lies.”
In remarks clearly addressed to Baku, Lavrov also insisted that the status quo is unacceptable to not only Azerbaijan but also Armenia, Russia and the other mediating powers. “It’s wrong to make hasty evaluations to the effect that since things are stagnant now nothing will work out,” he said. “I believe that everything will work out if we try to look for compromises taking into account legitimate interests of the parties.”
Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian chimed in claiming that Azeri statements about the status quo and continued insistence of the return of Artsakh’s liberated territories were actually threats against Karabakh.
“If Azerbaijan really wanted the status quo to change, it would come to an agreement on the principles proposed by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs and thus contribute to the progress in the negotiations, instead of frustrating the talks like it was the case in Kazan,” said Kocharian.
“Azerbaijan has just one opportunity to satisfy its aspiration for the change of the status quo—bypassing the Minsk Group framework. For that Azerbaijan should recognize the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and start negotiations with the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic on the elimination of the consequences of the aggression Baku unleashed,” said Kocharian.