Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sought to dispel on Wednesday Azerbaijan’s concerns regarding Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), saying that it will have no impact on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Visiting Baku, Lavrov also described Azerbaijan as Russia’s strategic partner and said Moscow would welcome its decision to join the EEU.
“The EEU is an economic alliance of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan which Armenia will join soon,” Azerbaijani news agencies quoted him as telling a joint news conference with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.
“The Karabakh issue is a subject of different international negotiations. As you know, the Armenian side has stated that Armenia’s accession to the EEU will take place within the framework of its borders recognized internationally,” added Lavrov, who also met with President Ilham Aliyev.
The chief Russian diplomat alluded to Baku’s stated concerns about Karabakh’s inclusion in the Russian-led union together with Armenia. Aliyev officially conveyed them to the presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in letters sent ahead of the EEU’s founding summit held on May 29. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev echoed those concerns at the summit, saying that the EEU’s accession treaty with Armenia must make a special reference to the latter’s internationally recognized borders.
President Serzh Sarkisian seemingly rejected Nazarbayev’s demands earlier this month. But he sounded more ambiguous on that score in televised remarks aired late on Tuesday.
Lavrov on Wednesday voiced satisfaction with the current state of Russian-Azerbaijani relations. He said they have been more “intensive” since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s August 2013 visit to Baku.
Lavrov also said, “The Eurasian Union is open to our partners. We would respond positively to the accession of Azerbaijan or any other country to the EEU."