Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during his meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Baku, November 21, 2020
First of all, I would like to convey warm regards from President Vladimir Putin. We are visiting as part of an interagency delegation following President Putin’s agreement with you on conducting a visit at the earliest possible date, which reflects President Putin’s intention to actively support the efforts with regard to implementing the agreements of November 9, 2020, and stress the special strategic nature of our partnership with Azerbaijan. The conversations our colleagues will have today on different areas of cooperation will, certainly, be aimed at helping our bilateral relations progress and thrive for the benefit of our peoples.
We highly appreciate Azerbaijan’s support for the statement of November 9, 2020. As you said, not everybody accepted the agreement at first and there were attempts to interpret it not from the perspective of its outcome, which was ending bloodshed, returning to peaceful life, setting up recovery processes and resolving humanitarian problems, but through the lens of geopolitical games – which, of course, does not meet the requirements of the modern world.
We particularly value the fact that you invariably put emphasis on achieving reconciliation in the region. It is our strong belief that completing this task is the whole purpose of further work, which means truly caring about people rather than some interests that were brought from outside.
Through Russian peacekeepers, our Azerbaijani colleagues and Armenian participants we are coordinating specific solutions to humanitarian tasks in the interests of people who are returning – that is, improving civilian infrastructure, fixing everything that is necessary for unblocking the economic and transport communications and, of course, involving public organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, UN institutions dealing with refugees, the United Nations Development Programme, UNICEF and UNESCO, which must be more active when it comes to preserving cultural and religious heritage in this ancient region.
We expect that co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, who have been leading the political process along with Russia for many years, will get involved in solving these problems with due consideration for and based on the November 9 statement. You and President Putin have repeatedly stressed that these agreements comply with the principles integral to the OSCE Minsk Group’s activity.
We sincerely appreciate your hospitality.