Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   23 January

Russian FM Sergey Lavrov weighs in on possibility of involving Artsakh as negotiations party in NK conflict settlement talks

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 2, ARMENPRESS. The question on involving the Karabakh side as a negotiating party in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement negotiations process must be decided by the conflicting countries, Russia’s minister of foreign affairs Sergey Lavrov said at a joint press conference with OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger.

“We’ve already commented on [Armenian PM] Nikol Pashinyan’s statements about involving Nagorno Karabakh as a party to negotiations. This is the kind of an issue that should be decided by the conflicting countries. There was a time when representatives of Nagorno Karabakh participated in the negotiations, but the format has changed and for many years now the negotiations are held only by Armenia and Azerbaijan. Certainly we proceed from the positions that Armenia is taking into account the approaches of Nagorno Karabakh in the negotiations process. Changing the negotiations format requires the consent of both sides, which at this moment doesn’t exist,” Lavrov said.

He noted that the conflict settlement is dealt by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, who are currently in the region for meetings with the leadership of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Lavrov attached importance to this kind of contacts in terms of settling the conflict.

Lavrov stressed that the Co-Chairs have made great efforts in the recent years in the direction of the NK conflict settlement.

The Russian FM reminded that Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev had reached certain agreements in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

“As far as I know during the Dushanbe meeting the Armenian PM and Azerbaijani president reached an agreement that dialogue must be continued and that the foreign ministers must meet. The sides noted that Armenia and Azerbaijan are ready to work with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. We can only welcome these decisions. As long as the [fervent] political processes, which we are following, in Armenia haven’t ended, it’s hardly going to be possible to discuss clear options for coming out of the crisis,” he said.

Speaking about the NK conflict settlement, the OSCE Secretary General also addressed the Pashinyan-Aliyev meeting in Tajikistan, describing it as “productive”. He expressed hope that the meeting will contribute to restoring trust.

“During the upcoming ministerial council in Milan in December we will express our support to the work of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs, and we will call on the conflicting sides to find political will for the settlement of the issue. It is important for the sides to work in a constructive atmosphere, to avoid provocative rhetoric, which will allow to de-escalate the tension in the line of contact. This kind of an atmosphere is extremely necessary in order for the sides to go for difficult compromise, which are required for long-lasting and comprehensive peace,” Greminger said.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan


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