MOSCOW (RFE/RL) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed hope on Friday, September 3, that Armenia and Turkey will normalize their relations after last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Now that the groundwork has been laid for a political process and the unblocking of all [Armenian-Azerbaijani] transport and economic links after the end of the war there I think that it would be totally logical if our Turkish and Armenian colleagues resumed their efforts to normalize relations, ”Lavrov said during a youth forum in Moscow.
“We are ready to assist in that in the most active way,” he said, echoing a statement made by a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman on Thursday.
Turkey has for decades made the establishment of diplomatic relations and opening of the border between the two countries conditional on a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan. Baku claims that its victory in the six-week war stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire last November put an end to the conflict.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke on August 27 of “some positive signals” sent by the Turkish government of late and said his administration is ready to reciprocate them.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded by saying that Ankara is open to normalizing ties with Yerevan. But he appeared to echo Baku’s demands for a formal Armenian recognition of Azerbaijani sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.