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Russia to Assist Armenia-Azerbaijan Peace Talks – Lavrov

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) and Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan shake hands during a meeting. Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service / TASS

Russia said Thursday it was ready to broker a peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia, as Moscow seeks to reassert its influence on the world stage after invading Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks with his Armenian counterpart in the capital Yerevan on Thursday, reaffirming Moscow's willingness to help negotiate a deal following the 2020 war over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Increasingly isolated Russia has lost its status as mediator in the decades-long territorial dispute between the two ex-Soviet republics.

The European Union is leading the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process, which involves peace talks, border delimitation, and the reopening of transport links.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met in Brussels in April and May for talks on a future peace treaty mediated by European Council President Charles Michel, and have agreed to "advance discussions."

Lavrov told a press conference on Thursday: "we confirm our readiness to assist the signing of a peace agreement between Yerevan and Baku."

"The process is under way and we are ready to participate as mediators, advisors, and a contributing party."

In autumn 2020, Azerbaijan and Armenia fought over Karabakh in a war that claimed more than 6,500 lives, before ending with a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement.

The deal — which saw Yerevan cede swathes of territory it had controlled for decades and Russian peacekeepers deployed to oversee the truce — was regarded as source of national humiliation in Armenia.

Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The ensuing conflict claimed around 30,000 lives.

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