Russia hopes that fighting will not resume around Nagorno-Karabakh and will keep trying to broker a solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said during another visit to Yerevan on Friday.
“It is important that the ceasefire which was achieved [by the conflicting parties] holds,” Medvedev said at the start of his talks with President Serzh Sarkisian. “In this regard, we absolutely welcome your meeting with Azerbaijan’s president in Vienna and efforts by the [OSCE Minsk Group] … to prevent those kinds of incidents in the future.”
“Rest assured that Russia has always assisted and will assist in the resolution of this difficult conflict. I will now discuss with you everything connected with that,” he told Sarkisian in comments made public by the Armenian presidential press service.
In his opening remarks, Sarkisian also mentioned Monday’s talks in Vienna that were co-hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. He said he hopes that Kerry, Lavrov and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will “consistently” help to implement agreements reached in the Austrian capital.
According to the three mediating powers, Aliyev and Sarkisian pledged to strengthen the shaky ceasefire regime in the Karabakh conflict zone, including through international armed investigations of armed incidents. They also agreed to meet again next month to resume their dialogue on a comprehensive peace deal.
Medvedev travelled to Armenia for a second time in less than two months to attend a meeting of the prime ministers of the four ex-Soviet states making up the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in Yerevan on April 8. It was cancelled and moved to Moscow after Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Karim Masimov refused to attend, citing the April 2 outbreak of heavy fighting around Karabakh.
Kazakhstan, which has strong linguistic and cultural ties with Azerbaijan, apparently wanted to avoid the impression that it supports Armenia in the conflict.
The Armenian government denounced the Kazakh move, with Sarkisian accusing the Central Asian state of damaging the EEU’s reputation. But it chose, apparently at Russia’s urging, not to boycott the rescheduled meeting in Moscow.
Medvedev visited Yerevan and met Sarkisian and Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian the day before the cancelled EEU summit.
Sarkisian held a separate meeting with Medvedev, Abrahamian, Kazakhstan’s Masimov and the prime ministers of the two other EEU member states, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan, later on Friday. According to his press service, the Armenian leader briefed them on “recent developments over the Nagorno-Karabakh problem.”