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Russia ‘Keeps Trying’ To Stop Karabakh War


RUSSIA -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a joint press conference with his Armenian counterpart Zohrab Mnatsakanian following their talks in Moscow on October 12, 2020.

Russia keeps pressing Armenia and Azerbaijan to work out a “verification mechanism” that would ensure their compliance with ceasefire agreements reached by them, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

“In order for the ceasefire to work -- we have seen that after two documents that were adopted but did not allow to radically change the situation on the ground -- [it is necessary] to create a mechanism to verify compliance with the ceasefire regime,” Lavrov told reporters in Moscow.

“We, including our Defense Ministry, are actively working on that, with colleagues from Azerbaijan and Armenia in the first instance,” he said, according to the TASS news agency. “I hope that such a mechanism will be agreed on in the very near future.”

Lavrov made a case for such a mechanism after an Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia on October 10 failed to stop hostilities in and around Nagorno-Karabakh. He said Moscow is ready to deploy “military observers” to the conflict zone as part of such an arrangement. Azerbaijan reportedly objected to the idea.

According to a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, the Russians tried unsuccessfully to organize a meeting of Armenian and Azerbaijani military officials last week. She said representatives of the Armenian Defense Ministry flew to Moscow but the meeting did not take place because their Azerbaijani counterparts did not show up.

Lavrov again spoke with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts on Saturday. The separate phone calls were followed by the announcement of another Armenian-Azerbaijani truce agreement which was reportedly brokered by France. Fighting in Karabakh continued even after that deal, which the warring sides accusing each other of not respecting it.

Lavrov on Monday also urged the sides as well as “international players” to tone down their “confrontational rhetoric.” “The next absolutely necessary step … is a halt to the hostilities and strikes on civilian areas,” he said.

Earlier in the day the Armenian Foreign Ministry insisted that Yerevan remains “faithful” to the truce agreements. It claimed that Baku “does not want or is unable to implement” them.

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