Russian Foreign Minister declines to directly endorse Turkish proposal for Nagorno-Karabakh

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declined to directly endorse a proposal from Turkey to establish a new format for ending the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in an interview Tuesday with the Russian daily Kommersant

When asked about Russia’s attitude on a platform to end the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh that included both warring parties as well as Turkey, Lavrov only acknowledged discussing the matter with his colleagues on each side.

“We do not hide that we do not support the position on the possibility and admissibility of a military solution to this problem,” Lavrov told Kommersant. He reiterated that Russia was in favour of working with all parties “who have the opportunity to influence the protagonists in order to create conditions for reaching a resolution.” 

Lavrov was later questioned on whether Russia is “too dependent” on Turkey in resolving regional conflicts in the Middle East or Caucasus. He insists that mutual cooperation was based on pragmatism but disagreements persist in Nagorno-Karabakh.

He acknowledged that a sustainable ceasefire has remains elusive, but insists that Russia will continue to use its influence together with Turkey’s to “stop the further development of the military scenario” and establish dialogue between both sides. 

Russia’s relationship with Turkey has become increasingly competitive in recent years. Beyond the Caucasus, Moscow and Ankara are also on opposite sides in Syria as well as Libya. Over the weekend, Russia pledged to intervene militarily if fighting spread to Armenia proper.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made clear he sees the current format for resolving the Nagorno-Karabkh conflict as a failure. Currently the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) led by France, the United States and Russia has mediated the dispute for the last three decades. The three together have called for an end to the fighting which began on September 27 after both sides accused the other of attacking first.

President Vladimir Putin told attendees at the Valdai Form in Moscow that he believes he can work together with Erdogan. At the same forum, Putin suggested the possibility of altering the format existed but not without compromises first.
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