Armenia criticises Lavrov's calls for Turkey to mediate Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

By bne IntelliNews October 18, 2016

Armenia's Deputy Parliament Speaker​, Eduard Sharmazanov, decried Russia's invitation that Turkey participate in moderating the peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The invitation was extended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the annual summit of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) held in Yerevan on October 14. Lavrov was likely extending a token gesture to Turkey, with which Russia recently mended ties following months of tensions. Turkey is one of 13 members of the Minsk Group, a mediating body operating under the umbrella of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which oversees Nagorno-Karabakh peace negotiations.

Founded in 1992, the Minsk Group is chaired by the US, France and Russia, which are also the countries that have decision making powers on negotiations. A close ally of Azerbaijan's, Turkey has long urged Armenia and the international community to push for a resolution of the conflict that would take into account the principle of territorial integrity, which would favour Azerbaijan.

Meanwhile, Armenians argue for self-determination, another internationally-recognised human right, and for allowing the population of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is ethnic Armenian, to decide its future.

Yerevan has long criticised Turkey for siding with Azerbaijan - as well as for failing to recognise the massacres of Armenians during the last days of the Ottoman Empire as "genocide".

“Turkey is not a [Minsk Group] co-chairing country, and the co-chairs can be substituted only by consensus. We oppose this. Why? Because during all these years, Turkey has had a one-sided, pro-Azerbaijani stance, and sometimes even a criminal stance,” Sharmazanov said.

A long-standing ally of Armenia's, Russia has played both sides in recent years seeking to further its geopolitical agenda in the region instead of worrying about reassuring its allies.   

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