Important meeting in Moscow: Details of Bayramov-Lavrov meeting-PHOTO

Important meeting in Moscow: Details of Bayramov-Lavrov meeting-PHOTO
# 06 December 2022 02:33 (UTC +04:00)

The normalization of Azerbaijan-Armenia relations and the delay in signing the peace treaty between Baku and Yerevan were discussed at the meeting of the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Russia in Moscow. APA's Moscow bureau reports about the meeting in which the Armenians living in Karabakh will be provided with the same rights as other citizens of Azerbaijan, the peace treaty will be prepared based on the UN charter and the Alma-Ata Declaration, and other important statements...

Behind closed doors for about half an hour...

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov started his working visit to Russia by laying a wreath in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin walls. Later, the minister went to the Reception House of the Russian Foreign Ministry to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. Only the protocol part of the Bayramov-Lavrov meeting was open to the media. The meeting continued behind closed doors. The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Russia discussed the relations between the two countries behind closed doors for about an hour and a half, as well as the issues on the agenda regarding the settlement of Azerbaijan and Armenia. Later, the ministers made joint statements to the press and answered the questions of media representatives.

"Russia is ready to participate in the restoration of Azerbaijan's territories liberated from occupation"

The host, Sergey Lavrov, began his speech at the press conference by talking about the current state of relations between the two countries. He said that the meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart was full and very useful: "The relations between Azerbaijan and Russia are developing on an upward line. Among other things, relations at the highest level also affect the development of bilateral relations. An important event of this year was the signing of the "Declaration on Mutual Cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan" in February. This historic document has determined the vector of future cooperation between the two states."

Emphasizing that Russia is one of Azerbaijan's leading trade partners, Lavrov said that the volume of trade between the two countries exceeded 3 billion dollars for the 9 months of this year: "It is a record result, we expect this figure to reach 4 billion dollars by the end of the year."

The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry also noted that his country's companies are ready to participate in the restoration of Azerbaijan's territories liberated from occupation: "Our economic operators are ready to actively participate in the post-conflict restoration of Azerbaijan's territories."

"Tripartite agreements remain a reliable and solid basis for peace in the South Caucasus"

Lavrov said that the process of regulating Azerbaijan-Armenia relations was discussed in detail at the bilateral meeting. According to him, the existing tripartite agreements on the regulation of relations between Baku and Yerevan remain a reliable and solid basis for a complete settlement, including the opening of transport communications and economic relations in the South Caucasus, delimitation of borders and access to the signing of a peace treaty: "Russia will assist the parties in all these directions. ready to do."

The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the format of "3+3" regional consultative cooperation was discussed in the negotiations. Recalling that this cooperation format was created at the initiative of the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, Lavrov noted that the first meeting in the format has already taken place, and preparations are underway for the second meeting: "At the moment, we are agreeing on the time of this event and the issues to be put on the agenda."

In short, Lavrov announced that he was generally satisfied with the negotiations with his Azerbaijani counterpart and stressed his confidence that these negotiations will serve to further deepen relations between Azerbaijan and Russia, and support peace, stability, and security in the South Caucasus region.

"Armenia does not implement the terms of the tripartite declaration, the Armenian armed forces have not been completely removed from the territory of Azerbaijan"

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister said that the main topic of discussion of the bilateral meeting is related to post-conflict issues and the normalization of Baku-Iravan relations. J. Bayramov said that the Azerbaijani side highly appreciates the role played by Russia in the normalization process: "From this point of view, we believe that the full implementation of the tripartite declarations signed by the leaders of Azerbaijan, Russia, and Armenia is an important element. Unfortunately, the main provisions of the tripartite declaration have not yet been implemented by Armenia. Armenian armed groups have not been completely removed from the territory of Azerbaijan. Also, the issue of landmines remains a problem. In this situation, we are experiencing a great tragedy. Armenia's failure to provide complete and accurate maps of mined areas causes tragedies practically every week. 268 people were victims of a mine explosion. 45 of them lost their lives. 35 out of 45 people are civilians."

"Lachin Corridor is not used for humanitarian purposes"

J. Bayramov emphasized that the Armenian side continues to violate the conditions of the tripartite declaration. According to him, Armenia uses the Lachin Corridor for other purposes, as more than 2,700 mines manufactured in the Republic of Armenia in 2021 were detected and neutralized on the territory of Azerbaijan starting from August 2022. A little more than a week ago, the next areas where the mines were neutralized were shown to the leadership of the Russian Peacekeeping contingent, the Russian-Turkish Joint Monitoring Center, as well as to the military attachés of a number of embassies in Azerbaijan. This is a violation of tripartite declarations, actually continuing military activity against Azerbaijan and not using the Lachin corridor for humanitarian purposes. Which is forbidden."

"Armenia delays the opening of the road from Azerbaijan to Nakhchivan"

The head of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry noted that the extension of the opening of transport communications in the region, which is reflected in the tripartite statements, has been observed. J. Bayramov specifically said that the opening of communications between the Western regions of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic was delayed by Armenia.

"Azerbaijan has repeatedly stated that it supports the normalization of relations with Armenia based on the norms and principles of international law, taking into account the respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries. We believe that the UN Charter and the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1991 are a good basis for moving forward. Based on this logic, Azerbaijan prepared a draft agreement based on five basic principles and submitted it to the Armenian side. After that, two rounds of negotiations were held. I would like to inform you that the third package explanation of the Azerbaijani side was presented to the Armenian side. We think that it is possible to hold the third round of negotiations on a peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia by the end of this year. Despite the positive dynamics in the negotiation process, I would like to note that progress on all tracks is quite limited. When I say all tracks, I mean both the discussion of the peace agreement, the issue of opening communications, as well as the issue of border delimitation," added the head of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.

"The Armenian population of Karabakh are our citizens, their rights will be guaranteed by the Constitution of Azerbaijan"

J. Bayramov also spoke about the integration process of the Armenian population of Karabakh into Azerbaijani society. He said that Azerbaijani citizens of Armenian nationality will have the same rights as other citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan according to our Constitution and international agreements: "We believe that Azerbaijani legislation is a very good basis for this. Also, we believe that all international actors should support the known process aimed at long-term peace, security and stability in our region.

Further ministers answered the questions of media representatives. The questions were about the North-South Corridor, the prospects of using the Russian "Mir" payment system in Azerbaijan, the proposals of Washington and Moscow regarding the peace agreement between Baku and Yerevan, the issue of discussing the environmental situation in Karabakh with the state institutions of Azerbaijan and the Russian Peacekeeping Contingent.

Zangazur corridor as a continuation of the North-South corridor...

Lavrov reminded that the international North-South corridor is regularly discussed at the level of presidents, heads of government and other institutions: "Recently, these discussions have been revived. Let's take into account that there are assessments that this project is useful not only for our countries, but also for Iran, as well as for the world economy. It is very cost-effective for all carriers between Asia and Europe, both in terms of time and financial costs. I think that in the near future we will be able to tell media representatives how the process is progressing. I repeat, all parties are interested in this project, and its implementation depends on it."

J. Bayramov said that no one doubts the importance of the North-South corridor: "It seems to me that the relevance of this project has even increased today. The North-South corridor covers not only our countries, but a wider geography. Active discussions are currently underway among all stakeholders to expand the corridor's capabilities. Because the corridor actually exists today, but there is a general consensus that its potential is much wider. I would like to mention one issue that the topics discussed within the framework of post-conflict settlement are related to the North-South corridor. When we talk about the opening of communications between Azerbaijan and Armenia, we mean the opening of new routes, the destruction of the railway between the Western border of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, passing through the territory of Armenia. I reminded that this road existed even during the time of the Soviet Union. I also want to remind you that the well-known railway in Nakhshivan territory has a connection with the railway of Iran. If this route is successfully developed, it can become a branch of the North-South corridor. This is his confirmation that not only Azerbaijan and Armenia, but all regional countries can benefit from the development of post-conflict settlement on different tracks. We hope that the Armenian side will show a constructive approach and it will be possible to move the issue from the "dead point". Azerbaijan is implementing this project in its territory without waiting for the final approval. Already in 2023, all works will be completed in our territory and the construction of the railway to the border of Armenia will be finished. Of course, the continuation of the further process will depend on how constructive the Armenian side is."

Lavrov: "After returning from Washington, the Armenian side made counter-proposals"

The most interesting part of the ministers' press conference was their answers to the question about the Moscow and Washington projects related to the Azerbaijan-Armenia peace agreement. The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the number of projects related to the peace agreement between Baku and Yerevan is more than two: "Because the Moscow project was prepared a long time ago, at the beginning of this year, and was presented to the parties. The Moscow project was received positively. Until now, Azerbaijan has had a proposal consisting of five well-known principles, which Jeyhun Bayramov reminded. Prime Minister Pashinyan reacted to these five principles. In the autumn of this year, during the visit of the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia to Washington, the Azerbaijani side presented the next version of the possible document. As far as I understand, after returning from Washington, the Armenian side presented its counter-proposals. We are ready to help as before. What is important here is to define the main issues. In this sense, the agreements reached between the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia at the meeting held in Prague are of great importance. They noted that they intend to solve all problems based on the UN Charter and Alma-Ata Declaration. If that's the case, then as far as I can tell, it really is. Then it makes solving the task much easier."

Bayramov: "Azerbaijan has a very precise and clear view on the peace agreement and, most importantly, a desire to resolve it"

The Azerbaijani Foreign Minister commented on this question. He said that the Azerbaijani side views this issue fundamentally from the point of view of the regulation of Azerbaijan-Armenia relations, and the Republic of Azerbaijan has a very clear and clear view on the known issue and, above all, a desire to solve it. J. Bayramov recalled that after the 44-day war, it was the Azerbaijani side, in the person of President Ilham Aliyev, who offered to turn the page of hostility and start working on a peace agreement: "Talking about additional initiatives and proposals, of course we are very grateful to all interested, objective international actors who want to contribute positively to this process. Of course, we are ready to discuss this, taking into account the fundamental norms and principles of international law. Probably, all the participants, all those who participated directly or indirectly in this process, can confirm that the position of the Azerbaijani side is very consistent and systematic. It seems to me that it is easy to establish and voice a position based, firstly, on historical justice, and secondly, on international law. We will continue to stick to this path."

Third parties are an obstacle to the normalization of relations between Baku and Yerevan. Who are they?

The Russian journalist's question to Jeyhun Bayramov about the resolutions adopted by the French parliament against Azerbaijan is also the journalist's question: "Who is the obstacle to peace between Baku and Yerevan?" was the answer to the question. This was also confirmed by the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister.

"You have partially answered your question in principle. Our position is that, taking into account the history, sensitivity and difficulty of the issue, it is certainly unproductive to take unilateral steps. We say it openly. The countries directly participating in the negotiation process may be solving some of their internal political issues by bringing the issue of their country's internal politics to the known issue, but they are causing great damage to the post-conflict settlement between Azerbaijan and Armenia. We believe that the main responsibility falls and should fall primarily on Azerbaijan and Armenia. The history of 30 years of conflict has shown us that sitting and waiting and hoping that someone will come and solve this problem in our place is probably a naive approach. First of all, political will, respecting the norms and principles of international law can help us act in this direction. However, Azerbaijan has repeatedly stated that it is ready to cooperate with international actors who can positively influence the known process. Those actors are objective and not interested parties. Also, attempts to artificially increase their influence in the region through this process, to turn the region into an arena of conflict with other countries, are very negative. Of course, we understand that the countries participating in the negotiation process will suffer from this. "Azerbaijan's position has always been to not deepen the war as much as possible, not to turn the South Caucasus region into a platform for confrontation between major foreign players," replied the senior diplomat of Azerbaijan.

The press conference ended with Lavrov's answer to the question about whether the discussions between a number of state structures of Azerbaijan and the leadership of the Russian Peacekeeping Contingent regarding the environmental situation in Karabakh were discussed in today's talks. The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the environmental situation in Karabakh was discussed at the bilateral meeting, and the work was carried out in the state structures of Azerbaijan with the participation of the Russian peacekeeping contingent. Our soldiers are actively engaged in this."