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Armenian, Azeri FMs To Meet Again In Moscow


Tajikistan - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets his Armenian and Azerbaiani counterparts in Dushanbe, May 12, 2022.
Tajikistan - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets his Armenian and Azerbaiani counterparts in Dushanbe, May 12, 2022.

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan have accepted a Russian proposal to meet in Moscow soon following a series of negotiations mediated by the United States.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev was the first to announce the upcoming meeting on Thursday. The Armenian Foreign Ministry confirmed it later in the day. Neither side gave a date for the talks.

Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov most recently met outside Washington for four consecutive days late last month. They continued their discussions on an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said afterwards that progress made by them is “not significant.” Pashinian’s July 15 talks with Aliyev held in Brussels also did not yield tangible results.

As European Union head Charles Michel hosted the latest Armenian-Azerbaijani summit Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed readiness to organize a fresh trilateral meeting with Bayramov and Mirzoyan. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, they should discuss the peace treaty and try to lay the groundwork for its eventual signing at a “Russian-Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in Moscow.”

Russia has been very critical of U.S. and EU efforts to broker such a peace deal, saying that the main aim of the Western powers if to drive it out of the South Caucasus.

U.S. - Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers in Washington, June 27, 2023.
U.S. - Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers in Washington, June 27, 2023.

Bayramov phoned Lavrov on Thursday to discuss what his press office described as “existing difficulties” in the peace process. According to a Russian readout of the call, they looked at “ways to intensify joint work on the key tracks of the Azerbaijani-Armenian normalization.” There was no word on the upcoming talks in Moscow.

In Yerevan, meanwhile, Pashinian and Mirzoyan met with Igor Khovayev, the Russian co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group. They discussed the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh caused by Azerbaijan’s seven-month blockade of the Lachin corridor.

In a June 15 statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry “strongly” urged Azerbaijan to lift the blockade, saying that it could have “the most dramatic consequences” for Karabakh’s population. Baku rejected the call.

The Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe discussed the severe shortages of food, medicine, fuel and other essential goods in Karabakh on Thursday at an emergency meeting in Vienna initiated by Armenia. Addressing the meeting, Mirzoyan said the Armenian-populated region is “on the verge of starvation” and called for stronger international pressure on Baku.

On Friday, the Karabakh parliament appealed to Armenia to ask the United Nations to give the Russian peacekeepers stationed in Karabakh an “international mandate.” It said the lack of such a mandate prevents them from unblocking the sole road connecting Karabakh to Armenia and the outside world.

Pashinian suggested in December that Russia itself seek such a mandate or ask the UN Security Council to send an “additional, multinational peacekeeping force to Nagorno-Karabakh.” A senior Russian diplomat countered that the idea of a UN peacekeeping operation is “hardly realistic.”

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