Delegation of the RA MFA in Moscow

6 m.   |  2020-10-14

A rmenia and Russia have always been in active diplomatic relations during the days of the Artsakh war, which broke out on September 27. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had 6 telephone conversations with Russian President V. Putin. Foreign Ministers of the two countries S. Lavrov and Z. Mnatsakanyan also had telephone conversations. The issue of Artsakh war was discussed at the level of Secretaries of Security Councils of Armenia and Russia as well.

On October 9, a trilateral meeting-consultation took place between the Foreign Ministers of Armenia Z. Mnatsakanyan, Russia S. Lavrov and Azerbaijan J. Bayramov. After about 11 hours of talks, an agreement on a humanitarian ceasefire was reached. The statement on the agreement [1] can be divided into two parts in terms of content.

The first part refers to the ceasefire. Based on the first and second points of the statement, a ceasefire was to take place on October 10, 2020 at 12:00, for humanitarian purposes through the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to facilitate handover of bodies of those killed in action and the release of detainees. The clear criteria for the ceasefire should be further agreed. 

The second part, which includes the third and fourth points of the statement refer to the resumption of the negotiation process for the settlement of the Artsakh conflict after the establishment of the ceasefire. According to the agreement reached, Armenia and Azerbaijan, through the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, enter into substantive negotiations to reach a peaceful settlement of the conflict as soon as possible. The sides also affirm the unchanging format of the negotiation process.

The second and fourth points of the statement are of special attention. The second point suggests that no agreement has been reached on clear standards for maintaining the ceasefire. That’s why the case was left for later. We think:

  • The reason for the failure of reaching an agreement on ceasefire standards was the willingness of the Azerbaijani side to continue the hostilities. The latter was unready for a ceasefire.
  • Frequent ceasefire violations are conditioned by this fact, the lack of clear standards.

The fourth point can be considered a diplomatic achievement of the Armenian and Russian sides, as in recent years, Turkish-Azerbaijani cooperation did everything to change the format of the OSCE Minsk Group, in particular, to include Turkey in the list of co-chairs. These efforts are also evident in the days of the current war. However, the Armenian side, as well as the co-chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group Russia, USA and France, have always opposed the change in negotiation format for the Artsakh conflict’s settlement. Moscow also managed to convince the Azerbaijani side in it.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan is paying an official visit to Russia on October 11-13. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced about it during the weekly briefing [2] on October 8. According to M. Zakharova, the talks between S. Lavrov and Z. Mnatsakanyan will touch upon international issues, regional security issues, bilateral multifaceted cooperation, EAEU, CSTO, CIS cooperation, wide range of coordination issues at the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, Maritime Economic Cooperation and other international organizations. “It’s obvious that the focus will be on the extremely complicated situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone”, noted the spokeswoman.

  1. Zakharova made a few remarkable statements related with the visit of Z. Mnatsakanyan, in particular:
  1. First, she called the RA Foreign Affairs Minister a “high-ranking guest” (высокий гость). At first glance, it may seem trivial, however the same definitions weren't given to the foreign affairs ministers of other countries arriving in Moscow these days. Besides, such a definition is made in wartime. By doing this, the Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman stressed in diplomatic language the importance of Armenian-Russian relations for Russia, especially in the current war situation.
  2. She also noted that Armenian-Russian relations are of allied nature and stand out for the high level of political dialogue.
  3. Spokeswoman noted that during the visit, a wreath-laying ceremony is planned at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as well as other events aimed at promoting the Armenian-Russian multilateral cooperation. Such a full program of the RA Foreign Affairs Minister’s visit to Moscow and ceremonial events during the war, once again show the high level of relations between Armenia and Russia.
  4. She also expressed hope that the official visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia to Moscow will give an additional impetus to the mutually beneficial development of Russian-Armenian cooperation and will contribute to the strengthening of security and stability in the Transcaucasia

Russian President V. Putin also made a statement in line with the fourth point in his congratulatory messages sent to the President of the Republic of Armenia Armen Sarkissian and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on the occasion of the Independence Day of the Republic of Armenia on September 21, 2020. The president noted, that the relations between Russia and Armenia are based on good traditions of friendship and mutual respect, and the further development of allied ties, multifaceted cooperation meets the long-term interests of the peoples of the two countries and contributes to the strengthening of peace, stability and security in the Transcaucasian region [3].

Combining all these, we are allowed to say that in the current regional tensions, official Moscow is sending political messages to the Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance that the aggression against Armenia is against Russia and its regional interests.

On October 12, at the press conference [4] held after the talks between the Foreign Affairs Ministers of Armenia and Russia, Z. Mnatsakanyan once again affirmed with facts that the current outbreak of the Artsakh conflict is an existential threat to the Armenians of Artsakh and at the same time endangers regional stability and security. The situation is further aggravated by the involvement of Turkish troops in hostilities and by the transportation of mercenaries to the Transcaucasia, which poses a threat of further terrorism.

The two ministers stressed:

  • The need for a strict implementation of October 9-10 ceasefire agreement.
  • The importance of developing and implementing effective ceasefire control measures, around which diplomatic efforts are currently being made.
  • The irreplaceability of the negotiating quota, the irreplaceability of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.

[1] Выступление Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова по итогам переговоров с Министром иностранных дел Азербайджанской Республики Д.А.Байрамовым и Министром иностранных дел Республики Армения З.Г.Мнацаканяном, Москва, 10 октября 2020 года

[2] Брифинг официального представителя МИД России М.В.Захаровой, Москва, 8 октября 2020 года

[3] Поздравления руководству Армении с Днём независимости республики

[4] Пресс-конференция после встречи Лаврова и главы МИД Армении Мнацаканяна. Прямая трансляция

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