RUSSIA CONTINUES TO ACT AS ARMENIA'S KEY ALLY
The foreign ministers of Armenia and Russia met at the reception hall of the Russian Foreign Ministry. First, at the bilateral meeting, then at the enlarged meeting, the whole scope of bilateral relations, issues related to peace and stability in the South Caucasus were discussed. Touching upon the Armenian-Russian strategic partnership, the Russian Foreign Minister noted that now another package of proposals is being prepared, the aim of which is to significantly increase the volume of Russian investments in the Armenian economy.
Sergey Lavrov (Russian Foreign Minister) - We continue to act as a key ally of Armenia. Russia will continue to support Yerevan in strengthening its defense capabilities, in the protection of its borders, of course, as a major trade and economic partner, a foreign investor. We continue to develop new programs that will ensure the stability of our trade, create new jobs.
KARABAKH ISSUE IN CENTER OF MIRZOYAN-LAVROV DISCUSSION
Referring to the agreements reached in November 2020 and in January and November 2021 on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Lavrov stressed that the Russian side will continue to ensure their implementation, including the activities of Russian peacekeeping troops in Karabakh.
Ararat Mirzoyan (Armenia’s Foreign Minister) - I expect that my visit will give an additional impetus to the full Armenian-Russian agenda, which is aimed at the further development of allied cooperation in all directions. We are confident that the effective activity of the Russian peacekeeping forces ensuring the security of the people of Artsakh will contribute to the strengthening of the ceasefire regime in Nagorno-Karabakh, the prevention of provocations, the restoration of normal life, the establishment of stability and security in our region.
LAVROV POSITIVELY ASSESSES DISCUSSION WITH MIRZOYAN
Before answering journalists' questions after the meeting, the ministers made statements.
Ararat Mirzoyan - Armenia is committed to the implementation of all agreements. The issues of the return of other Armenian prisoners of war and the preservation of historical and cultural heritage in the territories under the control of Azerbaijan are extremely important. Only through peaceful negotiations is it possible to reach a solution that will bring peace and stability to the South Caucasus.
The Russian Foreign Minister generally positively assessed the discussion with the Armenian counterpart, emphasizing that a wide range of issues of mutual interest were discussed.
Sergey Lavrov - We discussed in detail the situation in the South Caucasus, stressed the importance of unconditional implementation of the agreements reached by the leaders of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan, the activity of peacekeeping troops, as well as the establishment of a commission on delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. It is also necessary to work on the solution of humanitarian issues, the resumption of the meetings of the trilateral working group co-chaired by the deputy prime ministers of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan. We welcome the steps taken to establish the Yerevan-Ankara ties.
ARMENIAN AND RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS DISCUSSED DEVELOPMENTS IN PARUKH
Despite the statement of the Russian Defense Ministry and other international calls, the Azerbaijani forces that invaded the responsibility area of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh continue to remain near the village of Parukh. Asked by ‘Lurer’ what steps the Russian side is taking to return the Azerbaijani units to their initial positions, the Russian Foreign Minister noted that the developments in Parukh were also discussed during the meeting.
Sergey Lavrov - Not all the circumstances are completely clear to us. I would not like to go ahead and make final judgments. We are convinced that our Armenian friends have full confidence in the peacekeeping force, which plays a major role in maintaining stability in the region. Yes, there are small incidents, our military deals with that specific incident. There are some things that need to be clarified.
Foreign Minister Mirzoyan stressed that the Armenian side continues to believe that the Russian peacekeeping contingent will be able to restore the status quo as of March 23.
Ararat Mirzoyan - The peacekeeping contingent was deployed to ensure the November 9 status quo. We continue to believe that the status quo will be restored and that the Russian peacekeeping force will continue to fulfill its most important mission of ensuring the security of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.
WE BELIEVE IN SETTLEMENT OF KARABAKH CONFLICT: LAVROV
The Russian Foreign Minister stated that in the current difficult geopolitical situation he does not know what will be the fate of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs dealing with the Karabakh settlement. The reason for such uncertainty is the position of the United States and France, the Minister explained.
Sergey Lavrov - Our so-called French-American partners, in an attempt to cancel everything connected with Russia in a Russian-phobic madness, also canceled the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, declaring that they would not communicate with us in that format. That is their right. We are committed to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, to the fulfillment of all the agreements reached between the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia on a trilateral basis.
KARABAKH ISSUE SETTLEMENT WITHIN OSCE MINSK GROUP
Speaking about the OSCE Minsk Group, Mirzoyan noted that the current geopolitical situation has significantly complicated the work of the Co-Chairs, but the international community sees the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within that framework.
Ararat Mirzoyan - Although Azerbaijan announces that the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs have ceased to exist, that the Co-Chairs have nothing else to do, as there is no such conflict, I receive messages from the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and leaders of different countries, that the international community continues to see the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. That is very encouraging.
DELIMITATION COMMISSION FORMATION ISSUE
Referring to the agreement reached in Brussels on the establishment of a joint commission on the delimitation of the state border between Armenia and Azerbaijan by the end of April, Lavrov stressed that the process was based on earlier discussions between the leaders of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan.
Sergey Lavrov - We are fully committed to helping Armenia and Azerbaijan establish a normal life. Part of that is delimitation. Today we confirmed together that the joint agreement of the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan is in force, according to which the commission on delimitation will be bilateral, with the consultative participation of the Russian side.
According to Lavrov, this is due not only to the maps that the Russian side can provide for the process, but also to the fact that such issues with such a format can be resolved more effectively.
Within the framework of the meeting, Mirzoyan and Lavrov signed the program of consultations between the foreign ministries of the two countries for 2022-23.