Key points from meeting between Armenian, Russian foreign ministers
Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazyan, who is on a working visit to Russia, met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov for talks, the key topic of which was the implementation of the trilateral Karabakh truce signed on November 9.
The issues of exchange of prisoners and bodies of the dead, search for the missing were also discussed.
This is the second personal meeting between Lavrov and the new Foreign Minister of Armenia Ara Ayvazyan over the past month. The previous talks between the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Russia took place on November 21 during the visit of the Russian interdepartmental delegation to Yerevan.
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One of the main topics during the meeting of the ministers was the issue of prisoner exchange which FM Ayvazyan demanded take place as soon as possible:
“This is especially true in light of the incoming information about the literal barbaric treatment of servicemen, and not only.”
During a press conference after the meeting with Lavrov, the Armenian minister continued to speak on the topic:
“We expressed our readiness to make an exchange on the principle of ‘all for all’ and expect that the Azerbaijani side will not make any attempts to disrupt the process.
At the same time, the Azerbaijani side does not prevent cases of the inhumane treatment of prisoners of war and civilians held as hostages. Our prisoners of war and civilians who did not have time to leave their homes are severely tortured and beheaded alive. Exactly the same way that ISIS acted with hostages in the Middle East”.
Answering journalists’ questions, Ara Ayvazyan stated that “representatives of Baku and Yerevan” will meet and discuss issues on the settlement of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh “after the situation in the conflict zone is stabilized.”
The head of the Armenian Foreign Ministry believes that the issue of self-determination of the NK people lies at the heart of the settlement of the Karabakh conflict:
“Armenia […] has acted and continues to speak from the position of recognizing the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination and security.”
Ara Ayvazyan also spoke about the role of Turkey in inciting this war and helping Azerbaijan in the course of hostilities, including the introduction of mercenaries into the conflict zone:
“Turkey should withdraw its armed personnel and terrorist groups affiliated with it from the zone of the Karabakh conflict and the South Caucasus as a whole. So far there are no clear signals about the withdrawal of foreign terrorist fighters.”
The Armenian minister stressed that he expects to continue discussions on the settlement of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh with the Russian side, including on the function of Russian peacekeepers, creating conditions for the return of refugees, providing humanitarian assistance to the population, and restoring civilian infrastructure destroyed during the war.
Lavrov’s talking points
Sergey Lavrov began his speech to journalists with a statement that he would visit Yerevan:
“We had a very useful, full-fledged first contact with the new Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia. Ara Genrievich kindly invited me to visit Yerevan again. I will be happy to come, we will agree on the terms additionally.”
Meanwhile, according to Lavrov, a Russian interdepartmental commission recently visited Yerevan, which discussed with the Armenian Prime Minister, the Armenian Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry the situation since the signing of the trilateral document on Karabakh:
“We are unanimous in that the signing of the statement creates all the necessary conditions for a long-term settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on a fair basis in the interests of the Armenian and Azerbaijani peoples, in the interests of stabilizing the situation in the South Caucasus.”
Lavrov said that now the provision of assistance in the restoration of infrastructure and housing, health issues and the establishment of normal life, unblocking transport corridors and economic ties in the region is of the utmost importance.
In this regard, the Foreign Ministers of the two countries discussed the issue of creating a Center for Humanitarian Response on the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Moscow proposed to make this center international by including Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“Now we are discussing the practical issues of such an initiative, many Russian ministries and departments will participate in its implementation,” said Sergey Lavrov.
He stated that the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs should pay special attention to the preservation and protection of cultural and religious sites in Nagorno-Karabakh.