BAKU, November 21. /TASS/. Moscow expects that the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group will join efforts to resolve humanitarian issues in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Saturday.
"We have been working with our Azerbaijani colleagues and Armenia through our peacekeepers in order to agree ways to resolve humanitarian issues and make sure that people can return to their homes. It includes measures to establish civilian infrastructure facilities and restore economic and transport links," the Russian top diplomat pointed out. "We do expect that the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, who have been promoting the political process for many years together with Russia, will join efforts to achieve these goals based on the November 9 agreements," he added.
Moscow and Baku see eye to eye on the need to create conditions for inter-ethnic and inter-religious harmony in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Lavrov said. "We see eye to eye on the need to create conditions for the restoration of inter-ethnic and inter-religious harmony and reconciliation," Lavrov pointed out. According to him, the parties discussed a whole range of specific steps, which can help achieve this goal and which Russia will take together with Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Moscow will strongly oppose attempts to question trilateral agreements on resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Russian Foreign Minister said. "Those who put geopolitical ambitions first won’t be able to achieve anything and we will strongly oppose such attempts, focusing on efforts to implement the agreements that are in the interests of the people who live in the region," he pointed out, commenting on reports that the United States and its allies sought to undermine the agreements.
Azerbaijan and Armenia are sovereign states that have the right to choose their foreign policy partners, Russian Foreign Minister said. "Turkey is a real factor in the region, and not only in this particular region. Turkey is our partner in many fields," he pointed out. "As a sovereign state, Azerbaijan clearly has the right to choose its foreign policy partners, as well as Armenia," Lavrov added. According to the Russian top diplomat, "the art of politics is to take all factors that impact the situation in a region into account when promoting various initiatives."
The Russian delegation also included Deputy Prime Ministers Alexei Overchuk and Alexander Novak, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev and Head of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing Anna Popova. Before Baku, the delegation made a visit to the Armenian capital of Yerevan. In addition, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also visited Baku on Saturday to hold talks with Aliyev.