Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday, January 17 that the requirement to liberate “the occupied territories” of Nagorno Karabakh still remains on the agenda, but in no case by the use of force and exclusively upon determining the final status of Karabakh.
Commenting on the settlement of the conflict, the Russian foreign policy chief stressed that it is not an abstract notion and “is not merely a matter of Azerbaijan’s internal affairs.”
According to him, agreements on the implementation of a mechanism for investigating incidents and the increase in the number of observers in the conflict zone has not yet been implemented due to lack of consensus within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Azeri leader Ilham Aliyev met on June 20 in Saint Petersburg to address the conflict, with Russian President Vladimir Putin mediating the talks. The Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents confirmed their commitment to the implementation of agreements reached at a Vienna-hosted meeting on May 16. To that end, they agreed to increase the number of international observers in the Karabakh conflict zone. Also, they expressed satisfaction that the ceasefire was now holding. Prior to that, a meeting between both leaders was organized on May 16 in Vienna, with top diplomats from the MG co-chairing countries hosting the summit.
Recalling the bloody events in early April, the Russian diplomat noted that the escalation caused deepest concern. Lavrov at the same time said that “Russia played a decisive role in stopping the bloodshed at that moment.”
Azerbaijan on April 2 launched an overt military offensive against Karabakh, which resulted in hundreds of military and civilian deaths on both sides. Yerevan and Baku reached an agreement on the cessation of hostilities on April 5 in Moscow.