Russian FM Lavrov in Baku: Normalization of Azerbaijani-Armenian relations is in Russia's best interest
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has paid a visit to Baku and held a meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov. During the meeting with President Aliyev, Lavrov stressed that “military aspects of the settlement of the Karabakh conflict are resolved”.
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Prior to his arrival in Baku on May 5-6, Sergey Lavrov visited Yerevan, where he met with the acting Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ara Ayvazyan.
“Anti-Azerbaijani hysteria is getting out of hand”
During his speech at a meeting with Lavrov, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev noted that his country is showing goodwill in matters related to humanitarian issues.
“I must say that after the end of hostilities, we transferred all the prisoners of war whom we captured during the active phase of the conflict, and, after the end of hostilities, we handed over the bodies of 1,600 Armenian servicemen that we found over the last six months together with the peacekeepers and representatives of Armenia in the territories liberated from the occupation.
For comparison, I will say that after the first Karabakh war and throughout the years of occupation, not a single body of a missing Azerbaijani serviceman was handed over to us by Armenia, and there are approximately 4,000”, President Aliyev said.
“Along with this, I would also like to express my position in regards to what is happening in Armenia, namely, the growing tendencies of Azerbaijanophobia, which, in my opinion, is the only factor that unites both the Armenian government and the opposition today. The anti-Azerbaijani hysteria has already gotten out of hand, and it is completely unreasonable …
Therefore, the processes that are taking place in Armenia, including statements by various political forces about the possibility of re-occupying a part of the internationally recognized Azerbaijani territory, statements that reek of revanchism, and are, of course, very dangerous, primarily for Armenia itself. The second Karabakh war has already demonstrated what the policy of hatred and Azerbaijanophobia can lead to”, the president of Azerbaijan added.
Lavrov: “Military aspects of the issue are resolved”
In response, in his own speech, Sergei Lavrov noted that Russia is committed to fulfilling the agreements on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement in accordance with the trilateral November 9 agreement and in accordance with the results of the meeting in Moscow on January 11.
“Our peacekeeping contingent is fulfilling the tasks that you agreed upon during the communication with the leadership of Russia and Armenia, and we are grateful for the high assessment of the role of our peacekeepers. We will do everything to ensure that, as you stressed, everyone proceeds from the fact that the military aspects are resolved. Now we need to deal with the issues on the ground. There are issues related to delimitation, demarcation, everything is not so simple, but everything can be solved. We are convinced that military experts with the participation of diplomats can agree on mutually acceptable solutions”, the Russian foreign minister said.
Sergei Lavrov added that it is in Russia’s best interest to facilitate the normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia: “We believe that joint work focused on the economic aspects of overcoming the protracted conflict creates an optimal framework for this”.
Second day of visit
On May 11, Sergey Lavrov met with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov.
The Russian foreign minister has also visited the Martyrs’ Alley, where he honored the memory of those who died during the entry of the Soviet army into Baku on January 20, 1990, and in the first Karabakh war.
He also laid wreaths at the grave of former President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev and at the Eternal Flame memorial commemorating those who died fighting against fascismduring the World War II.