Russian FM to discuss NK problem in Baku

RIA Novosti
January 28, 2005


MOSCOW, January 28 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov is to discuss the problem of the Nagorny Karabakh settlement
during his visit to Azerbaijan on February 1-2, the information and
press department of the Russian Foreign Ministry reported.

“Russia hails further Azeri-Armenian dialogue at different levels,
above all, between the two countries’ presidents,” the department

Moscow believes that “the conflicting sides should achieve mutual
understanding to settle the old conflict.” “Russia is ready to render
them active assistance at the bilateral level and as the cochairman
of the OSCE Minsk Group and to act as the guarantor of the agreement
achieved,” the Russian Foreign Ministry assured.

The forthcoming Russian-Azeri talks will also focus on the
development of anti-terrorist interaction and economic cooperation,
in particular, in the fuel and energy sphere. Moreover, the sides
will discuss the legal status of the Caspian Sea and prospects to
hold the second summit of the five Caspian states (Russia,
Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iran).

[The first summit was held in Turkmenistan’s capital Ashkhabad in
April 2002 and ended with a zero result. Tehran was expected to be
the venue of the second summit in January 2005. However, according to
Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev, the event was
postponed because the sides have serious problems in connection with
their different approaches to the legal status of the Caspian Sea.]

Relations with Azerbaijan have recently become “strategic partnership
and are characterized by positive development dynamics,” the Foreign
Ministry noted. “It is symbolic that Sergei Lavrov’s first official
visit to Baku is held in the beginning of 2005, Azerbaijan’s Year in
Russia,” the Foreign Ministry said.