BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:20 A.M.) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed that the number of fighters from the Middle East in the Karabakh region is close to 2,000, stressing that his country will continue cooperation with Turkey to resolve the conflict peacefully.
Lavrov said in an interview with the Kommersant newspaper: “We are of course concerned about the internationalization of the Karabakh conflict and the involvement of militants from the Middle East in it.”
He continued: “We have repeatedly called on external parties to exploit their capabilities in order to cut off the transfer of mercenaries, whose number in the conflict zone, according to available information, is approaching 2,000 people.”
He pointed out that this issue was touched upon during the telephone conversations that Russian President Vladimir Putin held with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on October 27, and periodic contacts with the Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, and the Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan.
The Russian Foreign Minister added that his country continues to “persistently pass its position” on this issue through various channels.
In a related context, Lavrov stressed that Russia will continue to work with Turkey to stop the military conflict in Karabakh.
He said, “We have never hidden, nor are we hiding now that we refuse to settle the crisis through the use of force, and we seek to end hostilities as soon as possible. It is very important for the two parties and their external partners to respect the agreements on a strict ceasefire and to form a mechanism to monitor it and resume the negotiation process.”
He added, “Although no strict armistice was reached immediately, we will continue to exploit all the influence we have in the region and we will work with Turkish partners to stop the subsequent passage of the military scenario, arrange dialogue between the two parties and convince Baku and Yerevan to sit around the negotiating table.”