At the table organized by Washington, the two countries are still negotiating, and Aliev and Pashinyan should also meet soon. But agreement is still a long way off on several “crucial issues.” Azerbaijan sets as a precondition the disarmament of the Armenian defense forces in Nagorno-Karabakh. The response of the Armenian public opinion: “They want our capitulation.”
Washington ( / Agencies) – After three days of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan at the “George Schulz” foreign affairs think tank in Arlington, Virginia, which concluded on June 30 in Washington, the foreign affairs ministries of The two countries in conflict declared, without going into details, that there are still several “crucial issues” that require new working sessions. The spokesman for the Yerevan ministry later explained to Radio Azatutyun that the layout of the borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the conditions for the withdrawal of troops deployed near the borders and the creation of an international guarantee mechanism have yet to be determined with greater precision. for the dialogue between Baku and Stepanakert, the Armenian capital of Nagorno Karabakh.
Despite these difficulties in the discussion between the parties, everyone praises the progress made by the two ministers, the Armenian Ararat Mirzoyan and the Azerbaijani Džejkhun Bayramov, in drafting the agreement “On peace and the restoration of relations between the States “, at the American mediation table. On the other hand, the parties remain rather vague on the progress. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who was directly involved in the negotiations along with security adviser Jake Sullivan, echoed his colleagues’ cautiously optimistic remarks and also the need for much more efforts, because “it is clear to everyone that the closer we get to the goal, the more complicated the issues to define become.”
Baku has set the disarmament of the Armenian defense forces in the disputed area as a precondition for any agreement. As the Armenian political scientist Tigran Grigoryan pointed out, “so far the agreement concerns only secondary issues and details, but not the fundamental ones”, so we are actually quite far from a conclusion. He points out that even the Americans have remained more restrained than in previous circumstances, recalling that Blinken himself assured in May that “peace is very close.” After all, this round of negotiations took place in a context of a new escalation of the conflict, which could not fail to be reflected at the discussion table.
Grigoryan believes that Azerbaijan has “used these tensions to force the Armenians to make concessions, for fear of new clashes”, above all to insist on the disarmament of the Armenians. The Azerbaijani press continually talks about the “provocations of illegal armed formations in Nagorno Karabakh”, which allegedly receive supplies directly from Yerevan. According to the analyst, Azerbaijan is not really interested in a general peace, but only “in signing a document with unilateral concessions; in fact, a capitulation by Armenia.”
Consequently, the mediators should put more pressure on Azerbaijan so that it does not use provocations as a weapon in the negotiations, “even in 2020 there were not all these tensions after the 44-day war.” The fact that the US does not adopt a position of clear condemnation of Azerbaijan’s strategies, continues Grigoryan, “indicates the fear of blowing up the entire peace process. They fear that any reproach to Baku will lead it to leave the negotiating table.”
The leaders of both countries, Azerbaijani President Aliev and Armenian Prime Minister Pašinyan, are scheduled to meet in a few weeks, with the participation of representatives of the EU and the United States. Blinken said he was “looking forward to the next meeting, to build on the positive momentum provided by the latest discussions”, that is, “the spirit of sincerity, openness and frankness with which both sides have addressed such sensitive issues together.”