ArmInfo.The reason for Russian Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Igor Khovaev's new status, Special Envoy of the RF Foreign Minister for Armenian-Azerbaijani normalization, is the desire to present it as a result of the USA and France refusing to work with Russia within the OSCE Minsk Group, the political scientist Stepan Grigoryan said in an interview with ArmInfo.
And it is only Moscow that considers the OSCE Minsk Group's activities ended on February 24. "Otherwise, the U.S. and French co-chairs would not have come to the region to find a solution to the Artsakh problem - let me emphasize, within the OSCE Minsk Group," Mr Grigoryan said.
"Russia is determined to contribute to the signing of a peace agreement between Yerevan and Baku based on the Baku-proposed principles for establishing Armenian-Azerbaijani interstate relations and on Yerevan's response to them," Maria Zakharova, Spokesperson for the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated.
On February 24, 2022, Washington and Paris broke off all contacts with Moscow as OSCE Minsk Group co-chair. However, the real situation in the South Caucasus does not allow intervals in negotiations. It requires further consistent steps to establish long-lasting peace in the region, Zakharova said.
In his context, Ambassador-at-large Igor Khovaev will continue in a new capacity of Special Envoy of the Russian FM for normalization of the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations.
According to Mr Grigoryan, official cessation of the OSCE Minsk Group's activities and dissolution of the co-chairmanship - the only official international format mandated to deal with the issue of Artsakh's status - is actually Moscow's desire not that of Washington or Paris. In fact, the OSCE Minsk Group has over recent years been a "thorn in the side" of not only Azerbaijan and Turkey, but also of Russia. So it is Russia that is actually seeking dissolution of the co-chairmanship by bringing accusations against the USA and France.
"Igor Khovaev's appointment as Special Envoy of Russia's foreign minister for Armenian-Azerbaijani problems is nothing but an official reorganization of the international format of negotiations over Artsakh - and it is not France or the USA, but it is Russia. And the goal is to sideline the USA and the EU and gain an opportunity to ensure surrender of Artsakh to Azerbaijan as part of its pro-Turkish and, consequently, pro- Azerbaijani policy.
"We, on our part, should fully realize the new reality. Otherwise, Armenia and Artsakh are very soon going to face entirely new threats and challenges," Mr Grigoryan said.