Nagorno-Karabakh’s status remains an issue for the future, Lavrov says

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MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. The status of the Nagorno-Karabakh region should be decided with the assistance of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, the US and France) but for the time being, the focus should be on efforts to restore peaceful life in the region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, addressing the Primakov Readings forum on Wednesday.

“Many say that the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh’s status remains unresolved. A final decision is yet to be made with the assistance of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, who perhaps should refrain from fueling the status issue at the moment but facilitate efforts to strengthen confidence-building measures, resolve humanitarian problems and make sure that the Armenian and Azerbaijani people can once again live together in safety and economic prosperity. And then, I can assure you, if we create such conditions, it will be easier to resolve all status issues in a couple of years,” the Russian top diplomat emphasized.

He noted that the activities of a trilateral working group aimed at unblocking transport ties in the region served the same goal. “The effectiveness of the trilateral working group will first and foremost depend on whether the unblocking efforts will help improve people’s lives,” Lavrov noted. “The interests of Turkey and Iran are taken into account during trilateral consultations, because otherwise these unblocking activities won’t be as effective as they could be,” Lavrov said, adding that the activities of a Russian-Turkish center monitoring the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh were a very useful and stabilizing factor.

Tensions rose in the Nagorno-Karabakh region on September 27, 2020, when renewed clashes erupted between Azerbaijan and Armenia. On November 9, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a complete ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh. According to the document, Azerbaijan and Armenia maintained the positions that they had held, several districts were handed over to Baku, and Russian peacekeepers were deployed to the line of contact and along the Lachin Corridor.