Pashinyan, Aliyev agree to peace talks

Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan, European Council President Charles Michel and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in Brussels (RA Government, April 6)

Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev agreed to start work on a peace treaty during a trilateral summit hosted by European Council President Charles Michel in Brussels on April 6.

Michel noted Pashinyan and Aliyev’s “stated desire to move rapidly towards a peace agreement” in a statement released after the 4.5 hour meeting. Each of the leaders will instruct the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of their respective countries to “work on the preparation of a future peace treaty, which would address all necessary issues.” The statement does not specify what those issues include. 

Pashinyan and Aliyev also agreed to launch a Joint Border Commission to “delimit the bilateral border between Armenia and Azerbaijan” and “ensure a stable security situation along, and in the vicinity of, the borderline.” The joint commission is expected to be convened by the end of April.

Michel “stressed that ensuring the appropriate distancing of forces is an essential element of incident prevention and tensions reduction.”

Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan, European Council President Charles Michel and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in Brussels (RA Government, April 6)

The leaders also discussed the restoration of communication and transport links between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Michel “welcomed the steps towards the restoration of railway lines” and encouraged the countries to “find effective solutions for the restoration of road links.”

Michel additionally stated the “need for the full and speedy resolution of all outstanding humanitarian issues, including the release of remaining detainees and comprehensively addressing the issue of missing persons.” 

“The EU will likewise continue to support confidence building measures between Azerbaijan and Armenia as well as humanitarian demining efforts, including by continuing to provide expert advice and stepping up financial assistance, and assistance to conflict-affected populations, rehabilitation and reconstruction,” the statement reads.

“I do not underestimate the challenges, the difficulties on both sides, but I feel there is a common will to make progress. There is a common will to cooperate. There is a common will to identify what are the priorities and what are the concrete steps that we will be able to make together,” Michel told reporters after the meeting. 

Michel previously hosted Pashinyan and Aliyev in Brussels on December 14, 2021 following an earlier escalation of fighting along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border in the fall. The leaders had agreed to “reduce tensions on the ground to ensure a conducive environment” for negotiations on demarcation and delimitation and “proceed with the restoration of railway lines.” Aliyev has repeatedly called for the creation of a “corridor” connecting Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan through Armenia, which Armenian officials say has stalled progress on unblocking regional economic and transport links.

Last month on March 24, Azeri forces crossed the line of contact separating Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers in Artsakh and seized the village of Parukh in the Askeran region. Three Armenian soldiers were killed and at least 15 wounded in intensive fighting that persisted for two days. On March 27, the Artsakh Defense Army announced that Parukh had been placed under the control of the Russian peacekeeping contingent, yet Azeri soldiers retained a fortified post on the strategic Karaglukh height near Parukh. 

The attack represented the latest in a series of escalations by Azerbaijan’s military in the past month. Videos have circulated online depicting Azeri soldiers ordering Armenian civilians to evacuate their homes in Artsakh by loudspeaker. Early in March, Azeri forces shelled ​​the villages of Khramort and Nakhichanik in Askeran and Khnushinak and Karmir Shuka in Martuni. 

During a cabinet meeting on March 31, Pashinyan said that Armenia is ready to sign a peace treaty with Azerbaijan. He said that Azerbaijan falsely accuses Armenia of refusing to pursue negotiations on a peace treaty in order to justify military aggression. 

“The principle of mutual recognition of territorial integrity and inviolability of borders is acceptable for Armenia,” Pashinyan said during a cabinet meeting on March 31. 

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs publicized a list of five principles on March 14 that it had submitted to its Armenian counterpart several days earlier. The principles included mutual recognition of each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual affirmation of the absence of territorial claims to each other and a legally binding obligation not to make such claims in the future, refraining from threatening each other’s security, delimitation and demarcation of the border and unblocking of communication and transport links. 

In response, the Armenian Foreign Ministry announced that it had applied to the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs to “organize negotiations on the signing of a peace agreement” between the two countries. 

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan also told reporters that the principles do not address all of the existing problems in the region, namely the status of Artsakh and the rights and security of its Armenian residents. 

According to Pashinyan, Azerbaijan hopes to “close” the issue of the status and security of Artsakh. “Azerbaijan is trying to annihilate all Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh, thus considering the issue closed,” he said during his March 31 speech. 

“If we are wrong, then let Azerbaijan demonstrate concrete interest in discussing the rights and security guarantees of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh—an issue is raised not only by Armenia but also by the entire international community,” he continued.

Ahead of the scheduled talks between Pashinyan and Aliyev, Armenia’s opposition parties held a rally in Yerevan attended by thousands of people to warn Pashinyan against ceding Artsakh to Azerbaijan. 

“Defend Armenia by Defending Artsakh” demonstration, April 5, 2022 (Photo: Hayastan Dashinq/Twitter)

The Armenia Alliance and I Have Honor Alliance organized the “Defend Armenia by Defending Artsakh” march from Madenataran to France Square. Participants held posters reading, “Artsakh will never be part of Azerbaijan,” “The Turk is my enemy,” “Armenia is not a Turkish corridor” and “Nikol does not represent Armenian interests.” 

Vice president of the National Assembly and chair of the ARF Supreme Body of Armenia Ishkhan Saghatelyan declared the “start of a new struggle” during his speech at Freedom Square.

“Today with your presence and determination, you announce that these leaders do not have the mandate of the people to make new concessions under false promises of peace,” he said

Saghatelyan accused the government of “frightening people with the prospect of war” to “prepare them for new concessions” by presenting war or the loss of territory as the only viable options. 

Ishkhan Saghatelyan addresses demonstrators in Freedom Square, April 5, 2022 (Photo: Hayastan Dashinq/Twitter)

“We do not want war. Our struggle is for dignified peace for the sake of Artsakh and Armenia. But [the government] tries to present the situation as if it is impossible,” he continued. 

Former President and head of the I Have Honor Alliance Serzh Sargsyan was also present at the rally. 

“Such conflicts are not easy to resolve even in 40 to 50 years. It is not our fault that people rose to power who said that ‘it is none of your business what we negotiate; we will negotiate whatever we want,’ and brought us to this point. I have never negotiated on concessions. I have negotiated on what we can receive,” Sargsyan told reporters at the demonstration. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held separate phone calls with Pashinyan and Aliyev the day before the trilateral meeting in Brussels. The State Department released two nearly identical statements after the talks, stating that Blinken had “reiterated the United States stood ready to help by engaging bilaterally and with like-minded partners, including through our role as an OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair.” The statement released regarding the call with Aliyev added a line that Blinken had “called for restraint, de-escalation, and renewed diplomacy.”

The Artsakh National Assembly also released a statement ahead of the talks calling for “nationwide unity on issues related to the fate of Artsakh.”

We are convinced that with the full support of the Armenian communities of the Diaspora, the republics of Armenia and Artsakh can resist the regional challenges in defending our national interests,” the statement reads

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.

10 Comments

  1. Thanks Lilian for a comprehensive update of the situation. Iran is alert and moved forces, equipment, and resources to the Northwest to take a preventive action (Not Reactive) against any sign of aggression. The action will be swift and will shock the aggressor and its allies. There is No Room for any confusion for our two northern neighbors and regional countries. We shall cross the borders, destroy any threat up to the borders of Russia, Georgia, and Turkey. There is no need for a treaty or request for defensive support from Armenian government. Any act of aggression toward Armenian territories is a threat to Iran’s sovereignty.

    • Klaus,
      There is no lie and no one is lying. You are misinformed and therefore believe such nonsense as what is printed in that link you posted. That is for internal consumption and more for the pseudo-Turkish speaking Persians mostly living in the Iran-Armenia border region in the Iranian Northwest. The Iranian embassy officials in the enemy territory have made other announcements in the past that the Iranian government had never confirmed or authorized and some had been punished or reprimanded for them. What you are missing or don’t understand is the fact that the South Caucasus region was under the control of the Persian Empire around two centuries ago and the Persians lost control of it as a result of a war between the Persian and Russian empires in early 19th century but some Iranians to this day, oddly enough, consider this region as Iranian territory despite their rejection of colonialism as Iran itself was at times colonized by the West, in particular by the British which they detest.

      Such statements made by Iranian officials are not much different from statements made by Turkish officials against Russia and in favor of Ukraine when it comes to the territory of Crimea while maintaining close relations with Russia and conducting business with them. There are reasons for both Iran and Turkey making such fake statements while maintaining close relations with the country against which their statements are directed. In the Iranian case, that region was part of their former history and their statements can be considered pro-Iranian rather than pro-Azerbaijani. In fact, Iran considers some of the regions in the conflict zone as “Islamic territory”, whatever the heck that means, and it is quite anti-Azerbaijani given the fact that one of the closest allies of artificial Azerbaijan is Iran’s arch-enemy Israel and both terrorist Turkey and artificial criminal Azerbaijan have separatist schemes on Iranian territory in the Northwest. In the Turkish case, today’s Russian controlled Crimea used to be under Ottoman control and their statements on Crimea are pro-Turkish disguised as pro-Ukrainian. In reality, the tricky Turks cunningly consider Crimea as Ukrainian because it is easier for the Turks to claim Crimea as Turkish once it is under much weaker Ukrainian control but not so if it is under Russian control. Given the fact that today’s Turkish leadership is Islamic and Neo-Ottoman, they want the weaker of the two to keep Crimea so they can demand and take it from the weaker one.

      Ask yourself, how can the Iranian government make such statements while being neutral in the conflict and be the friendliest neighbor to Armenia in the region, now and during the entire thirty-year conflict, and keep borders with Armenia open while Armenian borders have remained closed with others? Even Georgia closed borders with Armenia at times but never Iran. Welcome to self-serving dirty politics!

    • Ararat, do you have any sources to back up your absurd claims? All you do is write walls of text about what you feel is right with no supporting evidence. Nice dismissal of that link about Iran.

  2. Don’t forget that we are negotiating from a weak position. We have lost the war and we have to bear the consequences. It would be better if we arm our country so that we can deal with the present aggression and then try to negotiate a settlement later from a position of strength. It is also high time that we recognize Artsakh as part of Armenia. Calling each other names does not help.

  3. We must never trust what this chicken-hawk leader of artificial Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has to say. When the Artsakh Liberation War of 1990s began this criminal coward turned into a chicken and went into hiding abroad and when the war ended he turned into a hawk with pockets full of petrodollars. After all, he is the charlatan coward son of the late and former KGB agent Heydar Aliyev whom we brought to his knees and handed his army a devastating and humiliating defeat. After the disastrous war of 2020 imposed on our people by half dozen terrorist states and based on November 9th humiliating ceasefire agreement by the current dysfunctional and treasonous government the armed forces of both sides were supposed to remain where they were at the time of the declaration of the ceasefire. That did not happen of course and the filthy enemy taking advantage of our pacifist and incompetent leadership, as well as other political turmoil brewing in the region, disregarded the ceasefire agreement and trespassed the sovereign territory of Armenia. This enemy can and should only be trusted when it no longer exists and its terrorist leaders, their henchmen and collaborators hunted down and held criminally responsible for their premeditated criminal activities against our defenseless populations.

    We did not lose this war, or any other war for that matter, to this opportunist and gutless enemy since their humiliating defeat in 1994 despite their massive resources and petrodollar billions. This was terrorist Turkey’s proxy war on the Armenians using artificial Azerbaijani armed forces along with other hired terrorist entities and deadly weapons, such as long-range missiles and military UAVs (drones) in tens of billions of dollars, supplied to the enemy by several other criminal states. Among them, terrorist Pakistan, CSTO member despotic state of Belarus which oddly Armenia is also a member of, hypocritical and morally-bankrupt Zionist state of Israel and unfortunately even our own so-called Russian ally. For 44 days, artificial Azerbaijan neither had a government nor an army. They were both handed over to genocidal Turkey and its despicable terrorist defense ministry to plan, provoke, conduct and dictate this terroristic war. In absence of terrorist Turkey, the latest war would have been the last nail on the enemy’s coffin if unlike this current impotent and treasonous government we had a TRUE patriotic government in charge of the country. I’m convinced, given a patriotic leadership and without any exaggeration, a determined and united Armenian front in its worst day can defeat this gutless sadistic enemy in its best day!

    Right now, we need weapons and more weapons. Negotiations with this enemy is meaningless. You dictate peace to such racist enemy instead of negotiating peace. They don’t want peace as long as they are dealing with this incompetent former journalist turned defeatist prime minister and as long as they have terrorist Turkey on their side. What they really want is even more concessions and ethnic-cleansing of Artsakh population. When the enemy was defeated and weak it kept negotiating in disguise while it prepared for war. You have to be a fool to trust this charlatan. Only our strength and determination will bring peace. But unfortunately this won’t happen until we have an Armenian patriot in office with access to deadly weapons he won’t think twice putting them to use. I really believe we need to acquire nuclear weapons at this point. This enemy will come to its senses and sober up only when it is faced with an existential threat. The strong dictate and the weak submit. The latter can never be our choice!

  4. Azerbaijan lost the war in 1994 was diplomatically stronger as they promoted the “territorial integrity “ lie. We are weak only if we have that way This is not 1921.

    • EU wants from us to stop relations with Iran and Dismiss Russian bases in Armenia,totally obey us the western policy if we cant they punish us with turks so what is your solution ?

  5. If the Greeks/Jews can do business with Turkey/Germany why can’t Armenia do the same with Turkey and Azerbaijan? I swear we are only holding ourselves back.

    • Pete,
      You are comparing apples to oranges. Greece liberated itself from Turkish terrorism in early 19th century and the source of contention between the two today is mostly the occupation and the status of Northern Cyprus. Successive German governments have condemned the crimes committed against the Jews by their predecessor regime during WWII and have paid and continue to pay reparations to their Jewish victims and have laws in place that punish Germans with anti-Jewish activities.

      The leaders of terrorist Turkey and artificial criminal pseudo-Turkish Azerbaijan promote hatred against the Armenians at the highest level. They institutionally brainwash their children into believing that one of their number one enemies are the Armenians and reward anti-Armenian activities and punish those who may sympathize with Armenians. Terrorist Turkish leadership has done this by helping our enemy militarily and by inventing ad-hoc criminal laws to punish those who sympathize with the Armenian Cause under “Insulting Turkishness” improvised law which led to the murder of the Armenian news editor Hrant Dink on January 19th 2007 in front of his office for promoting peace between the two peoples and opening their eyes to the tragedy of the Armenian Genocide committed by their Turkish predecessors. Successive Turkish governments have denied and continue to deny the Armenian Genocide. Only a few years ago the current Turkish terrorist-in-chief Er-dog-an refereed to Armenians as the “remnants of the sword” while glorifying their Armenian butchers.

      The fake leader of artificial Azerbaijani cesspool calls all Armenians, regardless of their country of birth and origin, as the enemies of his artificial terrorist state invented on occupied Armenian homeland only 104 years ago. He treated the axe murderer of an Armenian in his sleep in Hungary and his terrorist soldiers decapitating dead Armenian soldiers as national heroes of artificial Azerbaijan. The list goes on…

      Now, ask yourself, would you want to do business with such terrorist states that are hell-bent on destroying your nation and statehood? I say doing business with terrorist states with such mentality, and with no remorse, is dishonoring the memory of those defenseless Armenians who were murdered at the hands of their former terrorist leaders and race annihilators.

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