On September 1 a number of Armenian and regional media unanimously made publications with titles reading “If the West accepted our proposals the Karabakh conflict would have been settled long ago. Lavrov”.
We tried to find out whether RF Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov did say similar thing or not. And if yes, how correct this is.
During the meeting with students and professors of the Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov made a lengthy speech and said a few words about Nagorno-Karabakh in its part relating to NATO-Russia relations.
Particularly, the minister said: “Of particular concern are persistent efforts by NATO to reshape the military-political situation in the Euro-Atlantic area, including the build-up of military presence and infrastructure in the regions bordering on Russia, and, of course, the creation of a European segment of US global missile defense… However, being a responsible country, we are firmly committed to the declarations made by the OSCE and the Russia-NATO Council over the past 20 years.
We all want to form a security space in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasia that is equal for all. None of us will try to improve one’s own security at the expense of the security of others. Unfortunately, these declarations remained on paper as political promises. Our attempts to make them legally binding were rejected by Western countries. I’m convinced that if it turned out the other way and if equal and indivisible security was actually legally binding, then many current conflicts in Europe would have been settled a long time ago. I think this is true of the Transnistrian, Karabakh, and Kosovo conflicts.
With legally binding equal security regulations, we could have agreed on the non-use of force in Transcaucasia, which we have long been trying to achieve. The most recent Ukraine crisis probably would not have taken place, if we all respected our OSCE commitments of equal and indivisible security.“
Who is lying?
On the one hand, it is evident that speaking of “equal security” Mr. Lavrov means NATO-Russia relations within the framework of which he views Transnistria, Kosovo, Eastern Ukraine and Russian-Georgian conflicts. Official Moscow has always viewed these conflicts as a derivative of NATO-Russia relations.
However, this has never been related to Karabakh conflict. The conflict has never been and has never been presented as a conflict between Russia and the West. Moreover, Moscow has periodically stated that they work together with western counterparts (in particular, France and the United States) on the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The latest example of this is the Washington and Paris initiative to introduce mechanisms of investigation on the line of contact, later backed also by Moscow but rejected by Baku.
That is, on the one hand, Mr. Lavrov really talked about the “rejection of Russian proposals by the West” and said that in the event of security guarantees the Karabakh conflict would be solved, on the other hand, he did not specify whether the rejected proposals refer only to Russia-NATO relations or other conflicts as well.
Apparently, Lavrov meant that the West rejected proposals relating to Russia-NATO relations and added that in general legal guarantees of security would bring peace to all the conflicts in the OSCE area.
Nevertheless, it is impossible to assert that media distorted words of RF Foreign Minister. However, they are perceived by readers in a completely different way as a result of being taken out of context.
Anyway, it is a lie
We consider it worth emphasizing that no initiative of official Moscow related to Karabakh conflict exists that would be rejected by western countries. Moreover, no initiative is known (in general) that would solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Baku has no intention to make substantial concessions and recognize independence of Nagorno-Karabakh (including as a result of the supply of weapons by Russia to Azerbaijan). And Yerevan, as the victor of the war and de facto guarantor of security of Karabakh population, cannot give Artsakh to Azerbaijan.
Therefore, statement “If the West accepted proposals of Russia the Karabakh conflict would have been settled long ago” is a lie. Let the reader judge how much Lavrov’s ambiguous speech contributed to spreading the lie and how much misrepresentation by mass media contributed to it.