Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow had no intention of imposing any solution to resolve a decades-old dispute pitting Armenia against Azerbaijan, focusing on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Lavrov made his comments after another in a series of meetings between senior officials from both ex-Soviet states left unresolved the notion of clinching a durable peace treaty.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars in the past 30 years over Karabakh. In a six-week campaign in 2020, Azerbaijan recaptured large swathes of territory held by Armenia since soon after the collapse of Soviet rule.
“We are counting on the process of talks to continue,” Lavrov said on the Russian Foreign Ministry website after talks in Moscow with his Armenian and Azeri counterparts.
“But there should be no attempts artificially to impose an agreement of one sort or another not based on the interests of the Armenian or Azeri peoples just for the sake of catchy headlines or geopolitical or domestic policy considerations.”
A series of meetings between Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashiynyan, staged by Russia, the United States, and the European Union, have left key issues unresolved.
Russian peacekeepers remain in the area under the terms of a 2020 truce brokered by Moscow. But border clashes are frequent and the two sides routinely exchange harsh invective.
Lavrov acknowledged that the issues surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh were “in no way simple”. The region has long been recognised as part of Azerbaijan and most of its 120,000 residents are ethnic Armenians.
Providing guarantees for the identity and needs of Karabakh’s residents is one of the stumbling blocks. Armenia opposes an Azeri checkpoint restricting the movement of people and supplies to Karabakh through an area known as the Lachin corridor.
Post-independence borders must also be settled, along with transport corridors passing through each other’s territory.
Armenia’s foreign ministry, in a statement issued after the latest talks, called for the immediate opening of the Lachin corridor and for due consideration of the “rights and security” of Karabakh’s residents.