MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/. The foreign ministers of Russia and Azerbaijan, Sergey Lavrov and Elmar Mamedyarov, will discuss strengthening bilateral relations as well as settlement of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh in Moscow on Monday.
Mamedyarov is in Russia on an official visit on May 24-26. The agenda of his stay in Russia also includes meetings with Sergey Naryshkin, the speaker of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.
The two top diplomats will discuss the state and prospects of bilateral cooperation, the key aspects of the regional and international agenda, including the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that Russian-Azerbaijani economic, humanitarian and cultural ties actively developed last year.
In particular, trade grew 12% and joint activity was started to increase supplies of Azerbaijani agricultural products to the Russian Federation against the backdrop of a ban on imports to Russia of products from some European countries.
Cooperation also develops in the defense sphere. According to data of the Russian Armed Forces’ Southern Military District, joint military exercises of Russia’s Caspian Flotilla and Azerbaijan’s navy are scheduled for September.
Regarding the problems of the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that with account for geographical proximity and common history of the two countries’ peoples, the unblocking of the conflict is one of Moscow’s foreign policy priorities.
"It is necessary to note that the OSCE Minsk Group may help, ‘lend its shoulder’, offer options of solutions," the ministry said. "But the settlement itself does not depend on intermediaries, it depends on the parties to the conflict."
Nagorno-Karabakh sought independence from Azerbaijan at the end of the 1980s, which resulted in a war between Azerbaijan and Armenia that claimed the lives of 25,000-30,000 people between 1988 and 1994. Since then, the territory has been controlled by Armenia.
The Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which comprises Russia, France and the United States, acts as a mediator in the conflict.