Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russia Calls on Armenia, Turkey To Normalize Ties

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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.

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A senior Armenian pro-government lawmaker said earlier this week that Pashinyan’s administration will not accept any Turkish preconditions.

Armenia and Turkey came close to normalizing bilateral relations in 2009 when their foreign ministers signed two relevant protocols in Zurich, Switzerland in the presence of Lavrov and the top US and European Union diplomats.

Ankara subsequently linked their ratification by the Turkish parliament to a Karabakh settlement. As a result, Armenia’s former government formally annulled the protocols in 2018.

Lavrov revealed on Friday that during the 2008-2009 Turkish-Armenian rapprochement he “warned” then Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian that the Turks will not drop their preconditions.

 

 

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