“With regard to Nagorno Karabakh, lately the situation of the Line of Contact is quite calm, incidents are few and they are not very big,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on October 2. He added also that the “political process remains stuck and so far it cannot be made unstuck.”
In his previous extended comments on Karabakh made in early 2018 Lavrov spoke of the need for cease-fire strengthening measures. The number of cease-fire incidents have fallen in the last two years, after Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to de-escalate tensions, even though those measures – including the proposed expansion of cease-fire monitoring – were never implemented.
This week the Russian minister also noted that the mediators from France, Russia and the United States are working together and want the sides to work on the basic principles of resolution that had been discussed for the past decade. Unlike the previous Armenian government, prime minister Nikol Pashinyan has not indicated support for these principles.
“There are contacts [between Armenian and Azerbaijani officials], but a dialogue on settlement has not resumed yet,” Lavrov explained. He also described Pashinyan’s recent declaration that “Karabakh is Armenia” as “not helping.. the political process.”
“But I do not see any danger of resumption of any large-scale military hostilities,” Lavrov concluded. “And we will do everything so that that does not happen.”
Lavrov was speaking at the annual Valday conference held in Sochi, Russia. On the same day, Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev arrived in Sochi to attend the conference and meet with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who in turn had come back from the Eurasian Economic Union summit in Yerevan. It was not clear from official reports if Putin discussed Karabakh with Pashinyan while in Armenia.