Zakharova accuses west of causing "irreparable damage" to the Minsk Group

The Russian Foreign Ministry has announced that a meeting of the trilateral working group working on the issues related to the unblocking of transport links in the South Caucasus met in Russia earlier this week.

The group, which is chaired by the deputy prime minister of Armenia, Mher Grigoryan, the deputy prime minister of Russia, Alexei Overchuk, and the deputy prime minister of Azerbaijan, Shahin Mustafa, met for its 11th sitting on the margins of the 25th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, and the sides reportedly managed to bring their positions closer together.

On Wednesday (22 June) Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova also said that Moscow was ready to host the second meeting of the commissions on the delimitation and demarcation of the Azerbaijani-Armenia border at some point in the near future. She noted that recurring problems in key areas of the border confirmed the importance of continuing talks of the commissions. The meeting is due to take place in Russia, after which the next round of talks will be held in Brussels.

Zakharova emphasized that Russia would continue to do its best to fulfill the obligations fixed in the trilateral statements (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia), adding that Russia was “more interested than anyone else in normalizing relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan”. Over the weekend, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Karen Donfried, denied claims that the US and France had stopped cooperation with Russia regarding the peace process in the South Caucasus. Zakharova expressed doubt over this, stating that if Washington and Paris really considered the OSCE Minsk Group an important format, they would not have neglected their mandates. She accused France and the US of causing “irreparable damage” to the Minsk Group, as part of a wider campaign to isolate Russia.