Lavrov again insisted that return to normality and confidence-building measures in the Karabakh conflict zone must be the top short-term priority of the U.S., French and Russian co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.
“Many are now talking about the fact that the question of Nagorno-Karabakh’s status remains unresolved,” he said during a conference in Moscow. “Yes, it must eventually be settled with the participation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.”
“At this stage they [the co-chairs] probably should not periodically raise the issue of the status but contribute to confidence-building measures, help to solve humanitarian issues and help Armenians and Azerbaijanis again safely live side by side. In this case, it will be easier to resolve the issue of the status two or three years later,” he said.
The Russian-brokered agreement that stopped the Armenian-Azerbaijani war last November says nothing about Karabakh’s future status. It calls instead for the restoration of transport links between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly stated that the six-week war, which resulted in sweeping Azerbaijani territorial gains, essentially resolved the long-running conflict.
By contrast, Armenia maintains that the conflict will be unresolved as long as the two sides disagree on Karabakh’s status. It says that the disputed territory’s population must be able to exercise its right to self-determination in line peace proposals made by the Russian, U.S. and French mediators.