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Moscow Opposes Turkish Role In Karabakh Talks


RUSSIA -- Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov visits the Dream Island amusement park ahead of its upcoming inauguration in Moscow, February 27, 2020

The Kremlin spoke out on Wednesday against Turkey’s possible involvement in international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict which have long been spearheaded by Russia, France and the United States.

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin called on Tuesday for a serious change in the negotiating format, saying that the three world powers co-heading the OSCE Minsk Group have failed to broker an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal.

Kalin said Ankara does not object to what he described as an Azerbaijani proposal to hold quadripartite talks on Karabakh involving Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkey. “Let four of us sit down and discuss what we can do on this subject,” he told a Turkish TV channel.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the idea. “Moscow first and foremost proceeds from the fact that during the recent Moscow meeting of the three foreign ministers [of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia] all three parties reaffirmed the principle of immutability of the negotiating format,” Peskov told reporters.

A joint statement issued by the ministers on October 10 said, among other things, that Baku and Yerevan “reaffirm that the format of the negotiating process is to remain unchanged.”

Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the foreign relations committee of Russia’s upper house of parliament, was even more categorical, saying that the four-nation talks would have a “destructive” influence on Karabakh peace prospects. Kosachev told the RIA Novosti news agency that Turkey fully supports Azerbaijan in the conflict and therefore cannot bring any “added value” to the mediation efforts.

Armenia has always opposed any Turkish involvement in the Minsk Group process for that reason. It says that Turkey is now also directly involved in the war in Karabakh that broke out on September 27.

Ankara has voiced strong support for the Azerbaijani military offensive in Karabakh. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized this stance earlier on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued to lambaste the U.S., Russian and French mediators.

“The United States, Russia and France are still putting this off with their stalling tactics,” Reuters quoted Erdogan as telling members of his AK Party in parliament. “Just give them the occupied lands.”

Erdogan also denied reports that Turkey recruited and sent allied Syrian fighters to fight in Karabakh on the Azerbaijani side.

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