The two-day visit to Yerevan by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov due to start on April 21 will come amid speculation of a new plan by Moscow to settle the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
After participating in the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the European People’s Party in Luxembourg on May 30, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan the next day went to Astana, Kazakhstan, where a meeting of the Supreme Council of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) took place.
Armenia refuses to negotiate on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem until international security guarantees and the introduction of international ceasefire monitoring mechanisms are ensured to pave the way for peace talks.
In a move that made headlines in international media the Armenian government on May 5 markedly did not turn down a bill drafted by two opposition lawmakers that would oblige Armenia to formally recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh.
After the four-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh in early April calls for bringing those responsible for the situation to justice have been voiced more vigorously in Armenia. The matter concerns not only the level of preparedness of the army, but also allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the country as a whole. More than nine dozen Armenian soldiers were killed in the April 2-5 clashes with Azerbaijani forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and critics claim Armenians would have fewer casualties had proper armaments been purchased and deployed.
The meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents that took place in Vienna, Austria, on May 16 in the presence of the heads of the foreign policy departments of the United States, Russia and France, elicited mixed reactions in the two South Caucasus countries.
As Armenia marked May 9, the 71st anniversary of allied victory in World War II in Europe and the 24th anniversary of the liberation of Shushi during the first Nagorno-Karabakh war (1992-1994), there was no shortage of statements from officials related to the recent escalation of fighting in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict zone.
A serious shift has taken place in the Karabakh conflict settlement process after last week’s visit to Yerevan by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov – proposals for a final settlement have been postponed, and now only measures to strengthen the ceasefire are being discussed.
The last three days in the Karabakh conflict zone passed without news of new casualties as the sides exchanged the bodies of servicemen killed in the worst flare-up of violence on April 2-5.
A possible meeting of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan on Nagorno Karabakh with the participation of the foreign ministers of Russia, the United States and France has already been confirmed by Moscow. The other OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries have at least not denied such an opportunity.
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