Meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana, the two men discussed high-level Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations organized by Western powers since last month’s border clashes that left at least 280 soldiers dead. Lavrov called for a faster implementation of agreements between Baku and Yerevan brokered by Moscow during and after the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“I know that just recently there were contacts in Europe,” he said, clearly referring to last week’s Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in Prague. “Mass media are full of various rumors and speculations.”
“It would be important to look today at what else we should do to ensure that the trilateral statements adopted by the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan on November 9, 2020 and January 11 and November 26, 2020 are implemented faster,” Lavrov added in his opening remarks at the talks.
Mirzoyan also pointed to the recent flurry of diplomatic activity by the United States and the European Union which has prompted Russian criticism.
“There are many parties that are offering mediation efforts and it is very important for us to know Russia’s position on these issues,” he said. “We want to feel Russia’s support and move forward in the spirit of the trilateral agreements to normalize Armenian-Azerbaijani relations.”
Mirzoyan said Yerevan specifically expects Moscow’s “clear position” on the September 13-14 hostilities during which Azerbaijani forces attacked and seized Armenian positions at various sections of the border.
The Armenian government appealed to both Russia and the CSTO for military assistance immediately after outbreak of the large-scale fighting. Moscow avoided military intervention while the Russian-led alliance of six ex-Soviet states only sent fact-finding missions to Armenia.
Yerevan has openly deplored the lack of support from its allies. By contrast, it has praised the U.S. and the EU for urging Azerbaijan to withdraw from Armenian territory seized during the fighting.
The EU on Tuesday reaffirmed plans to deploy this month civilian monitors along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in a bid to ease lingering tensions there. The Russian Foreign Ministry was quick to criticize the move, saying that it is part of Western efforts to “wedge” into the Armenian-Azerbaijani pea process and undercut Russian mediation.
Lavrov revealed on Wednesday that the CSTO is also ready to send a monitoring mission to Armenia. He said this is what was recommended by the bloc’s fact-finding teams.
“The only thing required is the decision of the Collective Security Council, which must be convened by the [rotating] chairman of the organization,” he told Mirzoyan. “Namely, the Republic of Armenia. As soon as you have free time, we will be ready to formally approve this mission and it will be able to get to work.”
Mirzoyan said Armenia welcomes the deployment of the CSTO mission.
The two ministers met in Astana two days before their scheduled trilateral meeting with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov. It will also be held in the Kazakh capital.
In a further sign that Moscow is trying to wrest back the initiative, a senior aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier on Wednesday that he wants to host fresh talks between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. The official, Yury Ushakov, said Putin will propose a trilateral summit to Aliyev when they meet in Astana on Thursday.