No ‘Lavrov Plan’ on settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan has ever been compiled, Russia’s top diplomat said in an interview with Azeri-Press Agency.
The collective proposals of the OSCE Minsk Group are the only option currently on table, Sergey Lavrov said.
“I have publicly stated on many occasions that there is no Lavrov Plan,” he said. “The ideas that are now up for discussion are based on the proposals worked out collectively by the three states co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.”
“To be more precise, those are the provisions of joint statements on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement by the presidents of Russia, the United States and France. They are well-known,” he added.
According to the Russian minister, the sides generally stick to these agreements, but have different approaches to the sequence of measures that have to be implemented to achieve the target.
“Any changes or new plans that change the system developed by the co-chairs are ruled out,” he said. “Above all, we need to help the sides find a balanced political solution that would allow drafting legally binding documents.”
Moscow, Washington and Paris speak with one voice on the issue of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, he went on.
According to Lavrov, co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group actively engage in discussions on the issue. “During their regular visits to the region, they, as a rule, speak with one voice at talks with the leadership of Armenia and Azerbaijan,” he said. “I believe that a team approach of this kind is an example of how (sides) should cooperate in settling international conflicts.”
“I expect our close cooperation on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement to continue with both Washington and Paris,” Lavrov added.
“The Nagorno-Karabakh settlement issue is a very delicate subject, so details of talks are confidential,” he said. “At the same time I can say that many aspects have already been agreed upon. A few questions remain. But they are most difficult.”
“No consensus has been reached so far,” the minister added. “But nevertheless the work continues.”
“We are concerned about what is going on in a nearby region,” Russia’s top diplomat continued. “That’s why we are interested in restoring peace and stability in the region, in opening borders, in bringing back refugees, in resuming trade and economic ties. This is why the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains among the absolute priorities of our foreign policies.”
Lavrov denied allegations that no practical steps toward reconciliation have been made so far.
“The Karabakh issue is constantly in the spotlight of attention of international mediators, who take collective and individual efforts intended to solve this problem,” the minister said.
“As far as Russia is concerned – a three-party summit on the issue was held last year at the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin,” he said. “At all times, the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement issue holds a prominent place during Vladimir Putin’s meetings with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia.”
According to Russia’s top diplomat, the issue was discussed in detail during Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s March 15 visit to Moscow.
“Naturally, top diplomats don’t stand aside. A detailed discussion on the matter with Armenian Foreign Minister Edvard Nalbandyan took place in February, and with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammedyarov in early March,” Lavrov added.