MOSCOW (RFE/RL) — The status of Nagorno-Karabakh remains unresolved and it must be a subject of future Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday, January 18.
In the meantime, he stressed, the territory will be protected by Russian peacekeeping forces deployed there after a Moscow-brokered agreement that stopped the Armenian-Azerbaijani war on November 10.
“Precisely because the problem of the status is so thorny it was decided by the three leaders [of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia] to circumvent and leave it to the future,” Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow. “The [Russian, U.S. and French] co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group must deal with this as well. They have resumed their contacts with the parties and are going to visit the region again.”
He suggested that the return to normality and confidence-building measures in the conflict zone will eventually facilitate an agreement on the main sticking point.
Speaking after his talks with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that Karabakh’s status is among “many issues” that have yet to be settled by the conflicting sides. Yerevan maintains that Karabakh’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.
Lavrov stressed that Armenian leaders should avoid making “emotional” statements when visiting Karabakh. He chided them for making such statements before the war.