Negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan stalled

The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to resume direct dialogue after the cancellation of a meeting between their foreign ministers. 

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov

The meeting between Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov was expected to take place on December 3 during the OSCE summit in Stockholm. 

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of Azerbaijan Leyla Abdullayeva said that Azerbaijan decided to cancel the meeting in response to a “provocation by the Armenian side.” The provocation was the visit by an Armenian parliamentary delegation to Artsakh, which Azerbaijan considers illegal. 

The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs conveyed their regret that the joint meeting could not take place. In a statement, they expressed their “readiness to host such a meeting as soon as circumstances allow.” 

This is not the first time that Azerbaijan has rebuked Armenian officials for visiting Artsakh. In January 2021, the MoFA of Azerbaijan criticized then Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazyan for visiting Artsakh and meeting with local government officials, stating that the visit violated the terms of the ceasefire agreement ending the Artsakh War. In response, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov defended the right of Armenian officials to visit Artsakh, stating that the ceasefire agreement protects the Lachin corridor connecting Armenia and Artsakh for this purpose. 

“Throughout the decades of negotiations, there has never been a question of cutting off Armenia and Karabakh (Artsakh) from each other. That is why the Lachin corridor, as a concept, was not rejected by anyone. It is still subject to the consent of the parties, including the consent of our Azerbaijani neighbors,” he said during a press conference on January 18. 

Two days before the meeting between the foreign ministers was planned to take place, the deputy prime ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia met in Moscow. The meeting followed a trilateral summit between Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on November 26. 

During the meeting, the leaders had an “in-depth conversation on economic issues” and “unblocking transport corridors.” Putin said that the working group of deputy prime ministers formed to oversee the opening of regional transportation and communication links would announce decisions approved in Sochi. 

However, the trilateral working group did not announce any new agreements or issue any statements after the December 1 meeting, which lasted for several hours. 

Secretary of Armenia’s Security Council Armen Grigoryan blamed Azerbaijan for hindering progress on negotiations to unblock regional channels. 

“I think that Azerbaijan is not displaying the kind of political will that’s necessary for furthering the agreements reached in Sochi,” he said to RFE/RL. 

Political scientist Dr. Benyamin Poghosyan argued that the meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers was canceled in reaction to the “ineffective” trilateral meeting between the three heads of state in Sochi and the “failed” meeting between the deputy prime ministers. 

Poghosyan believes that the visit to Artsakh was a pretext for Azerbaijan to cancel the meeting. According to Poghosyan, upon the signature of the ceasefire agreement, Pashinyan agreed to a demand forwarded by Azerbaijan to refrain from visiting Artsakh. Pashinyan has not been to Artsakh since the end of the war in November 2020. 

Rather, Azerbaijan is obstructing negotiations to pressure Armenia to meet its demands, including recognizing Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan and granting Azerbaijan a corridor through southern Armenia. 

“The politics of military blackmail will continue until either the Republic of Armenia does not submit to the demands of Azerbaijan, or until the Armenian Armed Forces show that the military blackmail does not work,” he said

Indeed, on December 6 Aliyev demanded that Armenia provide a “date of when the Zangezur corridor will be opened, and there will be no problem in this case.” He urged Armenia to accept Azerbaijan’s conditions and “put an end to any insincere approaches to roads and communications.”

“Armenia has seen that. The whole world has seen that. No-one has been able to stop us,” he said during a visit to northern Azerbaijan. “There were those who wanted to stop us during the war. There were fairly strong circles, but they could not stop us.” 

For several months, Aliyev has publicly forwarded his goal to establish a corridor through Syunik, the southernmost province of Armenia, that will connect Azerbaijan and its exclave, the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic. Azerbaijan would retain customs and border control over the route. 

The MoFA of Armenia denounced Aliyev’s demand, stating that there is “no obligation, condition or agreement for the Republic of Armenia to provide Azerbaijan with a corridor or a road with corridor logic” in the November 9, January 11 and November 26 trilateral statements. The Foreign Ministry stated that the activity of the trilateral working group to unblock transport links is “undermined by the provocative rhetoric of Azerbaijan.” 

The OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries have called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to resume direct dialogue to “promote a lasting and sustainable peace in the region.” 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov released a joint statement urging Armenia and Azerbaijan to “refrain from inflammatory rhetoric and provocative actions and to implement in full the commitments they undertook on 9 November 2020 and reconfirmed on 26 November 2021.”

The three leaders also noted “with concern recent incidents on the non-demarcated Armenia-Azerbaijan border” and reaffirmed that the “use or threat of force to resolve border disputes is unacceptable” in the December 7 statement.

On December 3, Azerbaijani soldiers shot to death an Armenian civilian in Artsakh. This is the third time an Armenian civilian has been killed by Azeri forces in Artsakh in the past two months.

A group of Azerbaijani soldiers captured Seyran Smbat Sargsyan near the Chartar community of the Martuni district and took him to the Kohak military post, where they shot him dead, according to the Artsakh Prosecutor’s Office.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Azerbaijan confirmed Sargsyan’s death. The MoD said that an Azerbaijani soldier was “attacked by a person of Armenian origin.” 

“The man tried to seize the weapon. After firing into the air, our serviceman neutralized the provocateur who attacked him in self-defense,” the MoD wrote in a statement

The Russian peacekeeping mission in Artsakh recorded the incident as a “violation of the ceasefire regime” by Azerbaijan.

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.

16 Comments

  1. Azerbaijan’s “diplomatic corps” is a joke. They honor no agreements that they sign and are full of hatred in every move.
    Their mentality is that they won the last war so Armenia should capitulate to everything. Let’s go back to 1994. They lost the war yet continued to make demands and violate every agreement. now the tables are turned. Stand tall Armenia and Artsakh against this rogue aggressor.

    • In other words, unlike us Armenians, Turks/Azeris are actually astute politicians and diplomats who actually care about their country. “Stand tall Armenia”??? A country that is governed by a “democratically elected”, very popular Western and Turkish led and financed government?

    • I see that a reply came from someone who calls himself “Concerned Armenian”, that person never seems to miss a chance to diss and insult the Armenian People, while at the same time praising Turks, Azeris and other such people.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that “Concerned Armenian” is some shill for Azerbaijan, or even a person with a deeper connection to Turkic Peoples. I mean: “Concerned Armenian” a spouse of a Turk, or “Concerned Armenian” a Turk, anyway, I replied to your comment, Stepan, because “Concerned Armenian” posted a cynical reply to your comment. Also, there was no place there for me to reply directly to him.

  2. “Pashinyan agreed to a demand forwarded by Azerbaijan to refrain from visiting Artsakh. Pashinyan has not been to Artsakh since the end of the war in November 2020.”

    What a useless traitor pretending. Same traitor that didn’t mobilize the Armenian military. That basically left Artsakh on its own with nothing more then volunteers. That gave orders not to shoot or retaliate. That gives orders to release Azeri captured criminals with nothing in return to show for it. This while Azerbaijan is holding and torturing Armenian captives. Who has his body guards beat any Armenian that calls him a traitor. That lied about the war, and still lies and pretends that its not his fault with no accounting for the war in sight. Trust him ZERO! He is a danger to all Armenians.

    ARMENIAN UNITY IS THE ANSWER.. All working together in one cause. This includes the world wide Diaspora. No more incompetent useless leaders. No more tribal thieves enriching themselves at their fello Armenians expense.. All traitors..

    • Yes I agree we must unite. So, are we all willing to return to our motherland to fix this mess? Are you willing to do that? What are we doing in the diaspora? Every nation fought for their rights and they are still doing. What are we doing except crying and complaining. It’s time to grow up and take responsibility for the mistakes we made throughout history and that is if there are 5 people in a room we create five political parties and no one listens to the other. While the enemy is laughing at our impotence. Why did the Turks succeed? Because their forefathers joined forces and raided Westwards! Our ancestors were not ready for such invasion and to this day we cry for the unfairness of it all. Well! This is the tough world we live in. But we’d rather copy the Westerners instead of staying true to our culture. I was born in the diaspora and lived all my life amongst the foreigners and let me say they respect me and love my songs I share with all. Because they have lost theirs but I have not lost mine. I might be a single bee without a hive but have never forgotten who I am. This bee in her old age is ready to go and help. Are we all ready to do that? Humans are amazing creator. It’s time to stay positive and reclaim our homeland. I hope I have not upset you but I speak the truth. And when we help ourselves help will come from outside. That’s how it works. I say this with love for our people and country. Blessings.

  3. @ Alida we don’t necessarily need to go there to fix this mess. How about a real smart HONEST, inclusive leader for a change? One that understands the power and resources of the diaspora and utilizes it for the betterment of the country? BTW The reason you have passion is because like me, you are one of the Diaspora. ALL diaspora that I know have only the best interest at heart for Armenia and its people. Unfortunately its the rotten losers and thieves that have run this beautiful country right to the ground that are the real problem. Other then wanting your money they mostly want you to stay out of their affairs while THEY GO AND CRY AND DEPEND ON FOREIGN ENTITIES that can care less. They actually scorn the Diaspora. Maybe we do all need to move there and infuse the country with smart, savvy patriotic people. I’m ready.

  4. I agree with Alida Epremian. There are no small or big jobs as the Great Rosdom Zorian would say. There is work to be done and none of us should shy away from it. All sorts of work is important. I would like to add that what happened to our initiator, the real ARF?
    We used to be the “Initiators” of situations and were able to create situations and see to its success. Look at us now, we are working with criminals like Robert Kocharian and the likes of them. What are we looking for. How many mistakes are we going to make? No wonder, that we are not shown the respect we so much need and deserve for what we have done to our people. We are on the wrong track in Armenia and we must not deal with past and present criminals. That could be our Salvation. re-think our strategy and our direction.

  5. Diaspora Armenias – all of us – unite to form a politic entity, active lobbies trougout thew world to claim truthg and legal justice to all leaders and public by addressing UN CHR and Security Council to set up an independent international Tribunal with independent judiciary to condemn by international law Azerbaijani and Turkish collusions and aggression (backed by Poutine, Lukashenko and Pakistan, yes) to disseminate the reality of Armenian geopolitical and identity rights and ways to stop the ongoing crimes against Armenian people. In addition organizer a world conference on whats’ going on in Artsakh, Armenia and the region. A priority since press and media have been silenced (bought). The whole world must know before it’s hushed up and obliterated like the genocide. And this is what Armenian funds should ber used for.

    • You seem to forget about Jens Stoltenberg tacitly endorsing Turkey’s warmongering, or the EU refusing to do anything during the war.
      You slyly talking about Putin and Lukashenko (lol) as if Azerbaijan could not have done it without a green light from NATO and the EU is typical of the Nikol voter.

  6. Alida, unfortunately, you are right about us and our weaknesses. We shall not leave our people alone. They need us more than ever.

  7. Armenians gave it all for Iran (your own country). Iranians will defend Armenians and Armenia with our lives. If last year, we would have been called upon, we would have been there to defend our brothers and sisters against a dictator and corrupt individual who ignited fire among our Armenian and Azeris brothers and sisters. Armenia and Armenians were, are and always will be dear to Iran and all Iranians ( Iranian-Gilakis, -Azeris, -Mazanis, -Baloocs, -Kurds, -Armenians, -Georgians, -Arabs, -Persians, etc.).

    • Are you OK, mate? Your government took sides knowing well that Azeris were, among others, an Israel proxy. Maybe because of the majority Azeri population in Iran and common Shia religion? Your population has enough of its own problems. But after what happened last time, you best not complain when they start bombing you from the North if you dare go ahead with your own nuclear program… sad, sad situation.

  8. All comments indicate that we all care for our homeland in our own way. This is good and constructive. We need, however, to refrain from criticising each other so much and concentrate on the issues we agree on and act, rather than just talk. There is an indisputable common fact in most statements that we need to be united and strong. The world will not help a disunited nation and come to our help to resolve our differences. A strong army and modern weapons is the key to open all doors. World respects power.

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