Back in 2012, the Russian Federation made proposals; and if they were accepted, the Karabakh issue would have been closed forever, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a press conference Thursday.
"Anyway, that's when the concept of putting off the Karabakh status issue emerged. The concept was very simple: Armenians withdraw from five Azerbaijani regions around Karabakh, leaving to them two regions that connect Armenia with Karabakh, and the fate of those two regions—and they are Azerbaijani, no one disputes—, but the fate of those two regions, which remain Azerbaijani regions, will be decided over time, by defining the status of Karabakh.
That's when the concept of leaving the status issue for ‘later’ appeared for the first time. And ‘later’ meant the next generation, figuratively speaking. Then, in the fall of 2020, there was a war; it stopped at the stage of preliminary contacts when trilateral statements were being prepared, the three trilateral summits, with the participation of the Russian President; two in Moscow, one in Sochi. At that time also they were talking about the need to somehow start a political process, and there was an understanding that the status of Karabakh could be put off.
And, based on that, Russia formulated its version of the peace treaty [between Armenia and Azerbaijan], which was transferred to the parties in the spring; and that phrase was there. And, by the way, the Azerbaijani side had said that it was ready to support almost everything, but the issue of [Karabakh] status should be revised. And at the meeting in Sochi at the end of October, we wanted to return to that issue and find out to what extent our partners are ready to act on this gentlemanly understanding now, to resolve all issues, and leave the issue of Karabakh's status for ‘later.’ But when [Azerbaijani] President Aliyev and [Armenian] Prime Minister Pashinyan came to Sochi, they brought from Prague the document in which it was said that they want to sign a peace treaty, guided by the UN Charter and the Almaty declaration.
And the Almaty declaration on the creation of the CIS clearly states that the borders between the new states will be based on the borders of the former Union Republics of the USSR, where the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast is definitely part of the Azerbaijan SSR. And when, by signing this agreement, our Armenian partners tell us to let the Russian Federation confirm its proposals regarding the status of Karabakh, well, you also realize that it is not so much from the ‘opera’ of conducting negotiations, but from another ‘opera,’” Lavrov added.