However, a top aide to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev struck a cautious note as he commented on Lavrov’s upbeat statements in Yerevan. “Major issues have not been agreed upon,” Novruz Mammadov told the Azerbaijani Trend news agency.
According to Lavrov, Armenia should be keenly interested in a Karabagh settlement in the wake of the crisis in neighboring Georgia which he said exposed “the vulnerability of its position” and highlighted the importance of having an open border with Turkey. “Armenia has huge difficulties communicating with the outside world,” he said. “It is in the fundamental interests of the Armenian people to unblock this situation as soon as possible.
“It really has few geographic and political options. As soon as the Nagorno-Karabagh settlement becomes a fact, Turkey will be ready to help Armenia forge normal links with the outside world, naturally through the establishment of diplomatic relations between Ankara and Yerevan.”
The remarks ran counter to a widely held belief in the West that Moscow is disinterested in the normalization of Armenia’s relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey for fear of losing geopolitical leverage against Yerevan.