Lavrov Claims U.S., France Have Abandoned Russia as OSCE Minsk Group Chair

By Asbarez | Friday, 08 April 2022

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday claimed that France and the U.S. have refused to cooperate with Russia as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, adding that the West has prioritized its campaign against Russia over the settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

“I do not know what fate awaits this mediation group since our French and American colleagues—under the wave of Russophobia—have abandoned everything having to do with the Russian Federation. They also have canceled the Minsk Group chairmanship, announcing that they will not work with in that capacity,” Lavrov announced during a joint press conference with his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan, who is in Moscow on an official visit.

“That is their right,” Lavrov added. “If they are ready to sacrifice the Karabakh issue, and generally their interests in the Caucasus, and they are willing, at any given moment, to [abandon] the interests of the Armenian side, that’s their choice.”

This serious claim, which has not been confirmed by either France or the United States, was downplayed by Mirzoyan, who insisted that the international community continues to view the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs as the only viable entity that will bring a settlement to the Karabakh conflict.

Since the end of the 2020 War, the U.S., France and, to a certain extent, Russia have announced that the Karabakh conflict has not ended because a status for Karabakh has not been determined, all saying that the Minsk Group co-chairs must being negotiations to this end.

“The current geopolitical situation in the world has made the work of the OSCE Minsk Group, significantly complicated, but I am receiving signals from the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and leaders of many other countries—and I want to confirm that although Azerbaijani partners say the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs have ceased to exist, that they have nothing else to do, because the conflict no longer exists, there is no region called Nagorno Karabakh—the international community continues to see the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs’ format, which is very encouraging,” Mirzoyan said.

Armenia’s Foreign Minister discussed the recent incursion by Azerbaijani forces into the villages of Artsakh’s Askeran region, from where they have advanced to the strategic Karaglukh Heights. He also accused Azerbaijan of advancing a humanitarian crisis in Artsakh.

“In this regard, I once again highlighted the importance of the complete work of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship,” Mirzoyan told reporters at the press conference.

Mirzoyan and Lavrov also discussed their two countries’ cooperation efforts in the fields of defense, that includes technical and political facets, as well as the overall situation in the South Caucasus.

The two top diplomats highly praised Russian-Armenian cooperation in the military sector and pledged to continue to advance those ties.