Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to create commission to demarcate border

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan brief the press after their trilateral meeting in Sochi (Photo Kremlin, November 26)

The leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia agreed to take steps to launch a commission to delimit and demarcate the Armenia-Azerbaijan border during a trilateral summit in Sochi on November 26. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin arranged the meeting with Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev after the latest border clashes. On November 16, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces launched an attack along the eastern border of Armenia, conquering territory in the Vayots Dzor province. At least 13 soldiers were killed on both sides. 

While Pashinyan and Aliyev were expected to meet on the anniversary of the November 9, 2020 ceasefire agreement, the meeting was postponed following a breakdown in negotiations. The Kremlin announced that the leaders would review the implementation of the ceasefire and subsequent January 11, 2021 agreement to unblock regional transportation and communication channels during the November 26 summit.  

In his comments to the press before the meeting, Putin said that “a lot has been accomplished” in the past year to restore normal life in the region. “Unfortunately, not every issue has been settled yet,” he said. He hopes joint efforts among the leaders will “create proper conditions for the revival of the region so people can feel safe and engage in economic activity.” 

Aliyev said that while regional communication and transportation channels have not yet been opened, other points of the trilateral statement have “mostly been carried out.” 

“We have suggested to Armenia, publicly, starting work on a peace treaty in order to put an official end to the confrontation, recognize each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and live in the future as neighbours, learn to live as neighbours from scratch,” he said.

Pashinyan disagreed with Aliyev’s assessment that the situation is generally stable. “I cannot agree with the opinion of the President of Azerbaijan that all items except the unblocking of connections have been fulfilled,” he continued, referring to the continued detention of Armenian prisoners of war. 

He summarized the crisis created along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border since the invasion of sovereign Armenian territory by Azerbaijani troops on May 12. While some points of the border have not been delimited or demarcated, “a state border exists,” said Pashinyan. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev attend a trilateral meeting in Sochi (Photo Kremlin, November 26)

After a three-hour meeting, the leaders signed a trilateral document reaffirming their commitment to the implementation of the November 9, 2020 and January 11, 2021 declarations. 

They “agreed to take steps to increase the level of stability and security on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border” and to “push the process of establishment of a bilateral commission with the advisory participation of the Russian Federation” on border delimitation and demarcation. 

They also “stressed the need to launch specific programs as soon as possible, aimed at identifying the economic potential of the region.”

“The Russian Federation will continue to provide the necessary assistance for normalizing relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, building an atmosphere of trust between the Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples, and establishing good-neighborly relations in the region,” the statement reads. 

In his comments after the meeting, Putin said that Aliyev and Pashinyan had agreed on the establishment of mechanisms for border demarcation and delimitation. While the trilateral statement does not refer to a commission on demarcation and delimitation, Putin said such a commission will be created by the end of the year.

He also said that the leaders had made good progress on a “very important and sensitive point related to humanitarian issues.” He did not clarify what humanitarian issue he was referring to. 

However, Putin did not share any agreements reached regarding the unblocking of transport and communication links. According to Putin, the leaders had an “in-depth conversation on economic issues” and “unblocking transport corridors.” The trilateral working group overseeing the opening of transportation and communication links plans to meet in Moscow next week to announce decisions approved during the Sochi summit. 

Pashinyan described the meeting as “very positive. “We clarified our positions, and it turned out that we do not have disagreements on some issues which seemed to exist prior to the meeting,” he said. 

He also said that the leaders hold a “common understanding” on how regional transport routes will operate. 

Two days after the meeting, Aliyev said that the “Zangezur corridor is becoming a reality.” “This new transportation infrastructure will be an essential component of the East-West and North-South corridors,” he said during the 15th Summit Economic Cooperation Organization in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of Armenia denied that Armenia is involved in negotiations on the provision of a corridor to Azerbaijan. The November 26 Sochi statement “once again refutes the propaganda theses on so-called ‘corridor’ or the corridor logic,” MoFA spokesperson Vahan Hunanyan said

On the day of the November 26 summit, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Armenia reported that Azerbaijan repatriated two more Armenian prisoners: Aren Jirary Aramyan (born 1993) and Mihran Ernest Musayelyan (born 2000). 

According to the Azerbaijan State Commission on Captives and Missing Persons, Aramyan was detained during the military operations on November 16 and provided with “necessary medical care.” No other details are provided regarding his medical treatment.

At least 32 Armenian soldiers were taken captive by Azerbaijan during the November 16 border clashes. In the following days, videos circulated on social media depicting the physical and psychological abuse and mistreatment of Armenian POWs by Azerbaijani soldiers.  

Musayelyan was detained in the Agdam region after he got lost and entered territory controlled by Azerbaijani servicemen. On November 23, the Artsakh National Security Service reported that a civilian resident of the Martuni district was detained after straying into Azerbaijani territory.

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian is a staff writer for the Armenian Weekly. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hetq and the Daily Californian. She is pursuing master’s degrees in Journalism and Near Eastern Studies at New York University. A human rights journalist and feminist poet, Lillian's first poetry collection Journey to Tatev was released with Girls on Key Press in spring of 2021.

9 Comments

  1. A three ring clown circus imposing more Soviet style artificial borders at Armenia’s expense. Out of those 3 criminals not sure who is worse? Also how does anyone Armenian trust the liar traitor who dismantled the army? Who didn’t mobilize the army? Who gives orders not to shoot? Who lied at every step of this losing, capitulating war? Its sad but I believe the criminal ugly Aliyev more when he says that a corridor is more realistic now after this meeting. Pashinyan needs to be gone. The worst incompetent traitor just behind the thief Kocharyan and Sarkisyan. They all need to go.

  2. Yes, Z-corridor is coming if I know how Pashinyan works and I do. Deny, keep under wraps until the final moment. Pashinyan’s ‘transparency’.

    • I doubt you know Pashinyan like we know the Turkish charlatan Erdogan and his lapdog Ilham Aliyev the MAFIA boss of artificial Azerbaijan and the son of the late and former KGB agent Heydar Aliyev whom we brought to his knees. Aliyev lives in his own fantasy land and makes remarks that have nothing to do with reality and they are for internal consumption aimed at his ignorant and politically gullible population which is already fed up with his lies and many even consider him a traitor for getting their Russian enemies back in their backyard after thirty years of absence. By making such nonsensical remarks Aliyev is trying to take attention away from his failures and put the focus on their Armenian enemy a technique which he has used many times in the past to avoid his own downfall.

      How do you think the Aliyev’s criminal gang has been ruling that artificial pseudo-Turkish Azerbaijani cesspool, a gas station disguised a as country, for the last fifty plus years since the late 1960s without any apposition whatsoever? By rule of force, falsification of history, lies and fake patriotism. Aliyev is a narcissist and a fake patriot who was MIA in the first Armenian Liberation War in the 1990s at his ripe military age and instead was spending his time away from the war zone in Turkish and Russian casinos. Whatever label deceptive Aliyev wants to put on the so-called unblocking of communication lines, which at best refers to the Soviet era railroads, Armenians will never allow any such thing to materialize. Why do you think the original date of that meeting was postponed? That was no accident. Armenians sobered up Pashniyan ahead of the meeting with their discontent and actions that he better tread carefully when it comes to that subject otherwise that will be the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

      Furthermore, it is against international law to force any sovereign state to open a passage on its own soil to facilitate transport to a foreign state let alone to allow the transport of cargo and population by an enemy state. Why would Armenians allow such a thing when in reality this is nothing but the facilitation of the physical land connection of one enemy-occupied Armenian territory, that’s the ancient Armenian province of Nakhijevan, to another which is artificial Azerbaijan republic itself invented on occupied Armenian homeland only 103 years ago as a Turkish outpost in the South Caucasus? Why would Armenians allow a passage, through their own territory, that links and connects artificial enemy Azerbaijan republic from where nearly half a million Armenian citizens were forced out and their properties confiscated to enemy-occupied ancient Armenian province of Nakhijevan depopulated of the indigenous Armenians by racist policies of Azerbaijan-SSR for seventy years and the last remnants of the Armenian presence there for thousands of years erased by sadistic Azerbaijani army in 2005 with the desecration and destruction of a 1,300 year old Armenian cemetery in Julfa and the construction of a military training camp in its place to train new Azerbaijani terrorists to kill Armenians?

      Armenians will never allow this to happen because other than what I described this is also a pan-Turkish and pan-Turanic idea cooked up by Erdogan to connect Turkey to Central Asia and beyond via Azerbaijan. And why Central Asia? Not because you share anything with those people there anymore at all but because there are massive oil reserves there and Erdogan, with his make-believe Napoleon Complex, wants to tap into those resources, and especially now that there is no Soviet Union and Russia is weak, to have monopoly over energy exports to energy-hungry Europe so he can have major influence, if not a complete influence, over the European foreign policies in the region and in the world.

      P.S.
      This was not a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan alone for if it were the case the result would have been the same as before over the last thirty years. This was a war between Armenia and the collective forces of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Pakistan, hired Syrian ISIS mercenaries, Belarus and Israel. Aliyev’s honeymoon with all these terrorists bought by petrodollars will not last forever and will come to an end sooner or later and we will then see how much of a man this opportunist hyena is in reality. Aliyev talks big when he has Turkey on his side. For thirty years and without Turkey he was nothing. Like father like son as they say and in due time we will make him pay big time like we did to his late father!

    • Ararat, you could sell your wall of text and make a lot of money. Look man I will tell you for the last time the world is a nasty place and human beings are the worst. We are still cave apes mostly looking out for our own well being. Forget your 5,000 year old lands. Accept the reality and work from there rather then these fantastic dreams of owning the entire region. A bum first gets a job then dreams of a house. Also your not being fair to other peoples in the region. USA, Canada, Aus, NZ, etc are all conqured lands why don’t you talk about them? And last of all Turks in general do not care about whats going on it’s just Erdogan and his followers plus MHP idiots. Your issues are with your other neighbour.

  3. Discussions are good to avoid wars and misery they bring. However, we should not give away an inch of our historical homeland or loose our borders with Iran and Georgia. Any agreements need to be for a limited period and our soverignity over our lands must be kept. Did I hear it right? Was France offering jet fighters to us?

  4. We have lost a war and have very few positives on our side. We do not have any countries supporting us accept Russia who has its own agenda. We have to accept whatever is being offered and hopefully learn our mistakes from this bitter lesson and organize ourselves to fight another day.

  5. Agreed that every square inch of the homeland is sacred. We are custodian of the land. All Armenians are custodian of every square inch of Armenia and their father land (Iran), all of it, Armenians have sacrificed everything for Armenia and Iran. It is Iran’s turn to come to Armenia’s aid. As other commentator mentioned, all ethnicities across our fatherland live together in peace, and support each other in thick and thin of life.
    This dictator with his Mafia caused chaos and set brother / sister against brother / sister. Your friends in your Southern border are ready to come to your aid, and defend your borders and defend you from any aggression. Call upon us when you need us.

  6. Nikol, who works for foreign interests is preparing to give away more land. I’m just surprised at the never ending apathy of the people in Armenia, I thought they had their limits to what they would tolerate but obviously we have not yet reached that limit

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