MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. Russia will be prepared to provide active assistance to Armenia and Turkey when they sit down at the negotiating table, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Armenian magazine Regional Post - Caucasus. The text of the interview was posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website on Thursday.
The minister noted that Russia "played an important role in restoring the relations between Armenia and Turkey during the active phase of this process in 2007-2009."
"The collective efforts, first and foremost, those of Yerevan and Ankara, led to the signing in Zurich on October 10, 2009 of the Protocol on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations and the Protocol on the Development of Bilateral Relations between the two countries in the presence of the Foreign Ministers of Russia, France and Slovenia, the U.S. Secretary of State and the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy," Lavrov recalled.
Russia’s top diplomat stated that "the normalization process subsequently stalled and by now has come to a complete halt."
"It is of principle importance, though, that the sides have demonstrated the ability to reach agreement and take serious and responsible decisions," he noted. "I am convinced that Armenia and Turkey are able to resolve the current problems."
"That said, quite a lot depends on themselves. After all, the quality of the politicians is measured not only by the depth of their realistic analysis of the objective difficulties, but also by their ability to be optimistic in order to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of their citizens. When Yerevan and Ankara sit at the negotiating table, Russia will be ready to provide them with most vigorous assistance," he emphasized.
The minister added that the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border would benefit the entire region. "We would most certainly welcome the opening of the Armenian-Turkish segment of the EAEU's external border for free movement of people, goods and services. This will obviously benefit the entire region," he said.
Gradual restoration of Russian-Turkish relations will benefit security and stability in Transcaucasia, he went on.
Getting the Russian-Turkish ties out of months-long crisis will enhance trust and mutual understanding in the region, Lavrov said. "We expect the gradual restoration of bilateral cooperation with Ankara to benefit peace, security and stability in Transcaucasia."