Russia has offered to play a role of mediator between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in calls to bother governments said he was ready to normalize the situation in region adding that he had called on the neighbors to halt “warlike rhetoric”. Over 100 causalities have been recorded since Sunday in the clashes over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Officially part of Azerbaijan, the land mass is occupied by ethnic Armenians. The former soviet Republics went in to war in 1988-1994 over the disputed area. There is a chance and growing fear that the conflict could drag regional powers in it. Lavrov on Wednesday said he had called the foreign minister of both Armenia and Azerbaijan to say Russia was ready to broker the peace talks.
Russian President Putin in a telephonic exchange with his French counterpart discussed the issue and both the leaders agree for an immediate ceasefire. Russia is part of a military alliance with Armenia which also hosts a Russian military base on its land. However, Russia under Putin has also developed a good equation with Baku. Armenia has always lent it support to the self-declared republic of Nagorno-Karabakh but has never officially recognized it.
It is yet unknown whether what caused the recent spat that hurtled both nations into the war. However, on Wednesday, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev vowed to fight until the liberation of territory.
“We only have one condition: Armenian armed forces must unconditionally, fully, and immediately leave our lands,” he said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused France of backing Armenian occupation in the conflict zone. Macron responded by terming Turkish messaging as “warlike”, “which essentially remove any of Azerbaijan’s inhibitions in recapturing Nagorno-Karabakh”.
“And that we won’t accept,” he added.
Both Putin and Macron in a joint statement said that Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe would try to assist in the resolution of the conflict. Minsk was established by in 1992 and is controlled by Russia, France and United Sates.