Moscow not against involvement of “non-regional” players in South Caucasus

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday (27 July) that it was not against external players joining the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace process, as long as all efforts aimed at peace were conducted within the framework of the trilateral statements.

Speaking at a weekly briefing, the deputy director of the Information and Press Department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, Ivan Nechayev, said that Russia wanted to help the South Caucasus become a region of peace and prosperity. He added that Moscow was not interested in competing with anyone in its regional goals, and that it was exclusively promoting a constructive agenda. Touching upon the normalisation of relations between Yerevan and Baku, he re-iterated that any efforts should be based on the trilateral statements of the Russian, Azerbaijani and Armenia leaders.

Given the EU’s increasing activity in the region, and the growing role it is playing in facilitating the peace process, there has been much talk about how to find the right formula balancing the involvement from the EU and Russia. Earlier this year, Moscow accused the EU of trying to sideline it from the process, though this was quickly denied by Brussels. However, yesterday Nechayev noted that Russia was not against “non-regional players” joining the peace process, so long as they acted within the framework of the trilateral statements and contributed to their implementation. He added that it was crucial to avoid any duplication and to prevent “secret games” aimed at weakening one party and hindering the process.

Earlier this US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, in phone calls with the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders also re-iterated the readiness of the American government to support the sides in reaching a comprehensive peace deal.

source: with agencies
photo: Russian MFA; Tass news agency