Yerevan /Mediamax/. Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov has stated that “a complex of reasons” led to the border skirmishes between Azerbaijan and Armenia on July 12-16.
“The border conflict of July 12-16 was the second biggest (after April 2016) violation of the Ceasefire Agreement of 1994, which was drafted with our mediation. For the first time in the last 26 years, intense combat actions involving field artillery, mortars and combat drones occurred not on the Line of Contact in Karabakh, but in a section of the state border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
A whole complex of reasons led to the clashes. The fundamental reason is the unsettled Karabakh conflict, of course. Add to that the extremely heated public space on both sides of the border. A trigger of sorts was the geographical factor: Armenia’s decision to restore an old border checkpoint, located in 15km distance from Azerbaijan’s export pipelines, caused strong concerns on one side and unwarranted response from the other. In the end, it launched a flywheel of confrontation with the most unpredictable consequences,” Lavrov said in the interview to Russian newspaper “Trud”.
“In order to stabilize the situation, the Russian MFA contacted the parties on July 13 with the urge to cease fire immediately. We held on-the-phone talks with colleagues in Armenia and Azerbaijan, met with representatives of organizations that unite Russian citizens of Azerbaijani and Armenian ethnicity. Both diasporas need to fully understand their responsibility for both adhering to the laws of the Russian Federation and for facilitating an atmosphere conducive for normalizing the relations between Baku and Yerevan.
Russian co-chair of OSCE Minsk Group Igor Popov stayed in direct touch with the leadership of the Foreign Ministries of both countries. It took more than one attempt, but as a result of active Russian mediation, the sides ceased fire on July 16.
The situation has become more or less stable in August. It is relatively calm on the state border and the Line of Contact. Mutual public accusations have decreased. We anticipate swiftest renewal of the conflict settlement talks. We are working on it together with our partners in the Minsk Group,” said Lavrov.