Friday, June 11, 2021

Moscow Doesn’t Want Minsk Co-Chairs to Raise Question at Base of Conflict – the Status of Qarabagh – for Two or Three Years

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 9 – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov repeated his call for the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs France and the United States not to press for a definition of the status of Qarabagh for several years and instead work on “strengthening measures of trust” and “the resolution of humanitarian issues.”

            If they pursue that course with Russia, the top Moscow diplomatist says, “all problems of status will be resolved much more easily,” a position he has taken for some time but one that both Armenians and Azerbaijanis reject and that France and the US do not appear set to follow either.

            For more than 30 years, Armenians and Azerbaijanis have considered the issue of Qarabagh’s status the center of the dispute, with Armenia insisting that it must have a new status based on the right of Armenians there to self-determination and Azerbaijan arguing that the region is an inalienable part of the Azerbaijani state.

            Those attitudes aren’t likely to attenuate anytime soon, let alone in the two or three years Lavrov is now suggesting. Instead, they will remain at the center of thinking both in Yerevan and Baku and at the center of talks in the OSCE Minsk Group however much Moscow would like it to be otherwise.

            Sarkis Tsaturyan, an ethnic Armenian who is chief editor of the Realist information agency, says that he is convinced that France and the US “will force the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation to talk about the status of Artsakh [Qarabagh],” whether the Kremlin wants that or not (

             Meanwhile, in another development having to do with the current shaky ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Russian foreign ministry said that Ankara and Moscow are both pleased by the functioning of the Joint Center for Monitoring the Ceasefire (

            The statement followed high-level diplomatic contacts between the Russian and Turkish governments in Moscow.  It is the first such declaration since the monitoring center was established by the November 2020 declaration ( and

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