UPDATE - Armenian, Azerbaijani, Russian foreign ministers discuss Karabakh settlement

UPDATE - Armenian, Azerbaijani, Russian foreign ministers discuss Karabakh settlement

Azerbaijani foreign minister says there are more talks than results in settlement with Armenia

ADDS MORE REMARKS FROM LAVROV

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) – The foreign ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia met Tuesday in Moscow to discuss further steps regarding a possible settlement on the Karabakh region.

Opening the meeting, Russia's top diplomat Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow stands for the respect and implementation of all the trilateral agreements among the three countries.

Russia is interested in peace and stability in the South Caucasus, Lavrov said, adding: “Our efforts are aimed at the stabilization of the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, seeking a solution to humanitarian problems, unblocking transport and economic ties, and the development of contacts between people.”

For his part, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said that although the negotiation process with Armenia is quite intensive, the results are not as expected and "there are more talks than results in settlement with Armenia."

"However, it would be wrong to say that there are no positive results at all. Today we will have the possibility to exchange views on the entire range of issues. And traditionally in this format, we along with the Armenian side focus on the remaining articles of the peace treaty," he noted.

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said that on some issues, there are concrete results, on others "prospects are seen," and there are also questions where the parties are "far from each other."

Mirzoyan said the Armenian delegation's attitude is "constructive," but the establishment of an Azerbaijani border point on the Lachin road "complicates" the talks.

Following the meeting, Lavrov said at a news conference that another summit of the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia is planned for later this year.

The Russian side also proposed to launch a trilateral dialogue at the parliamentary level, he said.

Lavrov expressed hope that Tuesday's discussions would help give a positive impetus to the negotiation process in other areas, suggesting that the closest result at this stage appeared to be an agreement to unblock transportation in the region.

One of "the most sensitive" issues in the talks between Yerevan and Baku, according to Lavrov, was guaranteeing the rights and security of ethnic Armenians of Karabakh while at the same time ensuring Azerbaijan's territorial integrity.

"The Armenian side understands the need to convince the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh to meet with Azerbaijani representatives as soon as possible to agree on rights (that have to be ensured).

"The Azerbaijani side is ready to provide the same guarantees on a mutual basis with respect to persons living on its territory," he added.

Lavrov said that Russia understands Armenia and Azerbaijan's interest in using other mediators as well, noting that Moscow welcomed the efforts of parties that sincerely want to contribute to the settlement of the conflict and are against attempts to artificially impose agreements not based on the interests of either state.

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

In the fall of 2020, Azerbaijan liberated several cities, villages and settlements from Armenian occupation during 44 days of clashes. The war ended with a Russia-brokered peace agreement.

Despite the ongoing talks on a peace agreement, tensions between the neighboring countries increased in recent months over the Lachin corridor, the only land route giving Armenia access to Karabakh.

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