“In our opinion, the status of Nagorno-Karabakh is an issue that should be left to the next generations, when the conditions for a solution to the problem acceptable and fair to all are in place,” Sergei Kopyrkin, the Russian ambassador in Yerevan, told reporters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin implicitly made a case for such a delay last week. Putin juxtaposed it with what he described as a U.S.-drafted peace plan that would commit Armenia to recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, who is accused by the Armenian opposition of being ready to agree to Azerbaijani control of Karabakh at the behest of the West, responded by voicing support for the interim settlement proposed by Moscow. Speaking ahead of his meeting with Putin and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev held in Sochi on Monday, Pashinian suggested that the three leaders incorporate it into their joint statement.
The statement issued by them late on Monday makes no references to the Russian peace formula or even Karabakh itself. Aliyev reiterated in Sochi that Azerbaijan’s victory in the 2020 war with Armenia put an end to the Karabakh conflict. He had repeatedly ruled out agreeing to any status for the Armenian-populated territory.
In televised remarks aired at the end of the summit, Putin said that “some things had to be taken out” of an initial version of the joint statement drafted beforehand. He refused to shed light on them at an ensuing news conference.
“These are very sensitive and delicate issues for both [conflicting] sides,” explained Putin. Yerevan and Baku should try to reach common ground on them “in a serene, closed regime,” he said.
Putin indicated that the two sides are still not close to negotiating a bilateral peace treaty. He reaffirmed Russia’s strong disapproval of U.S. and European Union efforts to broker such an accord which intensified following the September 13-14 fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. The Western powers will fail to sideline Moscow, he said.
The U.S. State Department on Friday accused Putin of spreading “disinformation” about its peace efforts. But it did not comment on the essence of an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal favored by Washington.