What Was the Aim of Lavrov’s Visit to Baku and Yerevan?

Lavrov’s visit to Baku and Yerevan that was widely discussed and commented, ended. During the visits a number of issues were discussed referring both to the bilateral relations of the countries and the cooperation in international platforms. Nevertheless, in two countries the public attention was mainly on the approaches and the positions on Karabakh conflict. 

What was the aim of Lavrov’s visit to Baku and Yerevan and what important issues can be pointed out?

First of all it should be mentioned that Lavrov’s visit should be considered as the logical continuation of Sargsyan-Aliyev meeting in Geneva, then Putin-Aliyev, Putin-Sargsyan meeting in Russia. To make the agreements reached clearer, to contribute to their implementation, of course, consistency is needed. It is not one time that Azerbaijan has proved that it is not a trustful partner and it has a “habit” of refusing reached agreements. Therefore, it is obvious that the aim of Lavrov’s visit (as the Foreign Minister of one of the Co-Chairing countries of the OSCE MG) was to once again discuss the reached agreements, maybe also to clarify some details.

As for the most important issues about Lavrov’s visit, the following ones can be identified:

First, Lavrov declared that the negotiations over kKarabakh conflict are being held on the elements included in a document that for several years has been on the negotiation table.

“These elements are summarized in a number of documents that in 2007, 2009, 2011 were handed over to the OSCE Secretary-General and those elements are the Co-Chairs’ proposals. They are on the negotiation table,” Lavrov said.

This statement once again refuses the comments that Lavrov visited Azerbaijan and Armenia to discuss a new package of proposals.

Second, the logic of Lavrov’s emphasis makes it possible to assume that Russia’s recent activity in the context of the Karabakh conflict settlement is first of all aimed at creating an atmosphere of mutual trust between the sides. This is especially evidenced by Lavrov’s words that the Karabakh conflict is a difficult one and the whole experience of the negotiations shows that such problems are solved very quickly. And this means that the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, in particular the Russian side, will pursue the implementation of Vienna and St. Petersburg agreements that will create grounds for progress in political negotiations.

Third, Lavrov emphasized that the Karabakh conflict settlement process is the issue on which the tension in US-Russia relations cannot have a negative impact. Moreover, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship is the platform, where these two countries cooperate and have a common approach. Let us remind that Azerbaijan periodically announces the need to change the format of OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship, first of all, having in mind Turkey.

Thus, we can state that Lavrov’s visit to Baku and Yerevan was aimed at promoting the political negotiations that started in October. And for progress, naturally, there is a need for mutual trust between the parties and implementation of the reached agreements.