Russia calls on Armenia, Azerbaijan to settle their differences via diplomatic means

On May 19, Moscow will host trilateral and separate bilateral meetings of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with his Azerbaijani and Armenian counterparts.

Yayınlanma: 18.05.2023 - 13:08
Russia calls on Armenia, Azerbaijan to settle their differences via diplomatic means
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Russia urged Armenia and Azerbaijan on Wednesday to settle their differences through diplomatic means. 

Speaking at a press briefing in Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said there were cease-fire violations on May 11 and 12 on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

Zakharova said that presently the situation has stabilized and called on the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides to refrain from actions that may lead to a further escalation of tensions.

"We believe that the resolution of all disputes should take place in the political and diplomatic sphere, by diplomatic methods, and we intend to contribute to this in every possible way, including during the trilateral meeting scheduled for May 19 in Moscow," she said.

Zakharova noted that on May 19, trilateral and separate bilateral meetings between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia will take place in Moscow.

"Separate Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations on a peace treaty will be held separately. The foreign ministers will consider the prospects for normalization of relations between Baku and Yerevan, taking into account the dynamic situation in the region," she said.

Zakharova said she expects that the contacts will contribute "to the search for mutually acceptable solutions and increasing trust between the parties."

She also commented on a video posted on the official YouTube channel of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) urging Russian citizens to start spying for Washington.

"Why the absence of any disguise? What is this? Lack of professionalism? Laziness? Lack of funding of the CIA? What is happening there? The usual methods are recognized as ineffective and the bet is made on mass low-grade propaganda?" she said.

At the same time, she said, such "malicious activity, including the dissemination of inflammatory materials, will not remain without a proper, effective response."

On media reports that a former US Consulate employee in Vladivostok, Robert Shonov, was arrested for espionage in Russia, Zakharova said the US side did not get in touch with Moscow on this issue.

She declined to comment on the general elections in Türkiye, saying only that "it is a choice of a people of a sovereign country" and this is valid for all countries.

Zakharova also confirmed that restrictions were imposed on the use of bank accounts by the Embassy of Finland and the Finnish Consulate General in Saint Petersburg, saying it was a mirror response to Helsinki's actions, which previously created similar obstacles for the work of Russian diplomatic bodies in Finland.

She said Moscow tried to settle the issue through negotiations, but the efforts were ignored by Helsinki.

Zakharova also said that Russia has asked the UN Secretariat to take measures amid France's misuse of its position as the UNESCO headquarters’ host country to prevent Russian representatives from taking part in the organization's events by deliberately restricting the issuance of visas to them.

She stressed that the actions of the French authorities look "particularly cynical," taking into account that the two events to which Russian representatives were not allowed are presented as platforms for providing an equal interstate dialogue on protection of the rights of the media and ensuring pluralism of opinions.

"How are they going to provide the pluralism of opinion? By cutting off everyone who has a different opinion?" she said.

According to Zakharova, French authorities did not issue visas for the Russian officials who were heading to the 216th session of the Executive Council of UNESCO that took place on May 10 and to the 22nd session of the International Program for the Development of Communication in November last year.

She also criticized a report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the events in Mali in March 2022, accusing Malian authorities of killing civilians in the town of Moura, saying its experts "became participants of a campaign on disseminating unreliable information."

"The report is not based on official information and the results of investigations from the Malian authorities but on links to anonymous sources and some allegedly trustworthy resources. The purpose of such fakes is to convince the international community of the guilt of the Malian military and foreign personnel," she said.

She pointed out that there are clear criteria for preparing such reports which exclude the use of "anonymous sources," as it is an official document and not the private opinion of an expert.

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