Statement by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov following a visit to the Republic of Armenia, Yerevan, November 21, 2020
We are completing a visit of the Russian interagency delegation to Yerevan held in accordance with an agreement between President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan to review the entire range of our bilateral relations. The Russian delegation includes two deputy prime ministers, Alexander Novak and Alexey Overchuk, Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko, Head of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) Anna Popova, Russian Railways CEO Oleg Belozyorov and Deputy Finance Minister Timur Maksimov. At the same time, Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu and Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev have met with the Armenian leadership.
We have held comprehensive talks on issues of concern to the ministries represented on the delegation. They focused on the tasks related to a strict and full implementation of the joint statement signed by the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan on November 9 to stop hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, launch a peacekeeping mission and provide humanitarian support to civilians.
All the parties agree that the statement set out the only possible way to settle the problem, which became acute several weeks ago. They pointed out unanimously that any attempts to cast doubt on the statement in the country or beyond it are unacceptable.
We have reaffirmed our resolve to do everything in our power to ensure the continued implementation of that statement. The leaders of Armenia, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and President Armen Sarkissian, with whom we have met as well, pointed out that this helped settle acute problems and save lives. They are fully committed to the further implementation of that agreement.
High appreciation has been expressed during the talks for the efforts of the Russian peacekeepers and the executive order of President Vladimir Putin on the establishment of the Interdepartmental Humanitarian Response Centre, which is starting its work.
We also discussed current issues, including plans to hold the 20th meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation, the Russian-Armenian Interregional Forum and other events, including by our parliaments and other agencies, as soon as the coronavirus infection restrictions are lifted.
We paid special attention to the importance of mobilising international support for implementing the November 9 agreement. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is already working energetically here. We would like to see proactive initiative on the part of other UN bodies as well. We have received a statement to this effect by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Similar statements have been issued by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and a representative of the UN World Food Programme. We are also collaborating with UNICEF, the UN Development Programme and, of course, UNESCO. Yesterday I had an in-depth conversation with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay on the need for UNESCO to offer its services more proactively, in accordance with the related conventions, when it comes to preserving the cultural, civilisational and religious heritage in and around Nagorno-Karabakh. This would be a major contribution to ensuring inter-faith and interethnic reconciliation in this historical region.
We hope that UNESCO will show more interest than it did in the matter of preserving cultural heritage in Syria, primarily in Aleppo and Palmyra, where our UNESCO friends, frankly speaking, were not very active.
I would like to emphasise in conclusion that the Armenian leadership has reaffirmed its resolve to continue to develop and deepen allied relations with the Russian Federation. We regard this visit as yet another poof of our support, which has been expressed by President Putin on numerous occasions, for the efforts made in Armenia to maintain social stability and the policy of the Armenian leadership, including the Prime Minister and the President, for upholding the November 9 statement, which has stopped the bloodshed and launch a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.