European Council calls for “equitable peace” following renewed tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan

European Council President Charles Michel, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan meet in Brussels, May 23 (Photo: Office of the Prime Minister of Armenia)

European Council President Charles Michel has called for a “sustainable normalization of relations” following a week of renewed military hostilities and mutual accusations of derailing negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

All core issues that had led to the first Nagorno-Karabakh war as well as to the renewed hostilities in 2020 will need to be addressed by all stakeholders to create conditions for lasting and equitable peace,” the May 31 statement by Michel’s spokesperson reads

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev agreed to launch negotiations on border demarcation during a trilateral meeting in Brussels on May 23. In a statement released after the summit, Michel said that he had “stressed to both leaders that it was necessary that the rights and security of the ethnic Armenian population in Karabakh be addressed.” 

Armenian political figures criticized Michel for his usage of “Karabakh” as opposed to “Nagorno-Karabakh,” stating that the former emphasizes the absence of Nagorno-Karabakh as a territorial and political unit. 

Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan called the statement “highly unacceptable,” stating that it “does not reflect the demands and aspirations of the Armenians of Artsakh, based on the right to self-determination.” 

Four of the five political parties in the Artsakh parliament released a statement condemning the use of the phrase “ethnic Armenian population in Karabakh,” stating that it “testifies to the retreat of the current authorities of Armenia from the foreign policy vector.”

“The authorities of the Republic of Armenia are obliged to be guided exclusively by the position of promoting and protecting the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination in international instances,” the statement reads

Michel noted in his May 31 statement that “terminology is particularly sensitive” in conflict settings and that his comments after the trilateral summit should “not be interpreted as favoring a predetermined outcome of discussions either way.”

“What ultimately matters most is that all issues are comprehensively addressed; this includes rights and security of all populations,” the statement reads. 

Michel’s statement follows a week in which Armenian and Azerbaijani authorities have accused each other on nearly a daily basis of obstructing the peace process. 

On May 28, the Armenian Defense Ministry (MoD) reported that an Armenian soldier was killed by Azerbaijani fire. 

Azerbaijani armed forces fired on Armenian military positions in the southeastern part of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, according to the MoD of Armenia. Soldier Davit Vahan Vardanyan received a gunshot wound and died in the hospital the next day. 

Azerbaijani authorities denied the report of a border attack, stating that such “false and destructive statements” are meant to “undermine the steps taken toward the normalization of relations.” Two days after the border fight, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported that Armenian armed forces fired on Azerbaijani positions in the Kelbajar region, which the Armenian Defense Ministry denied as disinformation. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia (MoFA) said that “regular ceasefire violations,” including the May 28 attack, prove the “need for a mirror withdrawal of troops from the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and the deployment of an observation mission on the border area, which has been repeatedly raised by the Armenian side.” 

The MoFA of Armenia also recalled that the “consequences of the previous gross violation” of the ceasefire, during which the “Azerbaijani armed forces invaded the village of Parukh in Nagorno-Karabakh” have “not been eliminated yet.” 

Azeri troops advanced on the Askeran region of Artsakh and seized Parukh on March 24. While Russian peacekeeping troops took control of the village after several days of deadly fighting, Armenian authorities reported that Azerbaijani soldiers maintained fortified positions in the nearby Karaglukh height. 

 

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev reiterated his claim that the Artsakh conflict has been resolved during a lengthy speech the day before the May 28 border attack. 

“As for the administrative territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, this territory does not exist in the territory of Azerbaijan. Therefore, the word Nagorno-Karabakh is not in the lexicon of international organizations, and the recent meeting in Brussels showed it once again. It is true that Armenia has once again raised the issue and, as they say, they are hitting their heads on the wall, but this is the reality and they have to come to terms with it,” Aliyev said during a visit to Zangilan. 

Aliyev further said during his May 27 speech that the border demarcation process will recognize Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Artsakh. 

“It automatically puts an end to the territorial claims made against Azerbaijan by revanchist, fascist forces in Armenia, because if we define the borders, what kind of ‘Nagorno-Karabakh’ status can we talk about?” Aliyev said. “This is the territory of Azerbaijan, and the whole world accepts it. Therefore, the first meeting of the commissions on the delimitation of the Azerbaijani-Armenian border is of great importance.” 

Aliyev also reiterated his claims that parts of the Republic of Armenia, including the capital city Yerevan and the southernmost province Syunik, are historically part of Azerbaijan. 

The Armenian Foreign Ministry condemned Aliyev’s speech as evidence of the “continuation of aggressive and warmongering policy.” 

The negotiations on normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan should be held on the basis of proposals of both sides, which should address the whole agenda of issues, including the final settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” the MoFA of Armenia said

“We call on the leadership of Azerbaijan not to disrupt the discussions conducted in the existing formats with warmongering, expansionist rhetoric,” the MoFA continued. 

In response to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, its Azerbaijani counterpart criticized the “revanchist forces in Armenia” encouraging the continuation of the “aggressive policy pursued by these forces for nearly 30 years.” 

“The Armenian side must understand that the attempt to demonstrate the behavior of decades ago is nothing but an illusion. Only a proper assessment of the new realities and new opportunities in the region can lead to the right outcomes,” the MoFA of Azerbaijan said

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.
Lillian Avedian

@LillianAvedian

Graduate student @GloJo_NYU and @nyukevo. Staff writer @armenianweekly. Editorial intern @DAWN_Journal. She/her.
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13 Comments

  1. How do you negotiate with a rouge nation that seeks
    your destruction. You start with conviction and strength as
    Axerbaijan feeds off of our weakness. In 28 years , they have yet to honor an agreement they make. Any “agreement” signed
    by them is worthless. They have zero credibility. Wake up Armenia and stand tall. You are dealing with snakes who will say and do anything to service their goal of eliminating the Armenian presence. Such hypocrisy that the European treats Azeris as a responsible party and ask Armenians to compromise. We must agree to nothing that endangers the rights of Armenians to be free….. otherwise what is the point
    of all this????????

  2. Aliyev will never commits to peace as long as he is dealing with weak Pashinyan’s government.

  3. Aliyev is the very paragon of absolute lies. His misinformations and territorial claims match perfectly those exhibited by Putin himself. He calls Armeninas ‘dog’s just like Hitler did calling Jews “swine or pigs”. How can any civilized country deal with such a monster..

  4. We are in a catch 22 position. Impossible to deal with vipers. The only solution is France and the US, then Russia pulls out it’s troops that protect Armenia. That’s the catch 22. Where do we go from here.

  5. So long as we have no military superiority Armenia is doomed except for the genocide factor. Russia will not tolerate a Turkish Azeri belt extending all the way along the Southern corridor linking
    Turkey to the Uigher(Muslim)region of China. Who knows what Putin is thinkinf?

  6. I still don’t understand why Armenian leadership in modern times pursue relationships with the US and Europe. What have they done for Armenians in our long history? They let the last Armenian kingdom fall while Armenians helped them in the past and were very close, they allowed the genocide to happen, they allowed the destruction of Artsakh as we all witnessed. Russia and Iran historical policies were not always friendly but at least they don’t cause direct damage to the Armenian Nation. If we are better protected being allied with these two then that is the only solution. The EU doesn’t care about Armenians, the US doesn’t care about Armenians (except politicians to get votes), obviously Israel doesn’t care and drooling over our destruction, so neither should Armenians care about them! The EU and US are not going to restore our old lands, Congress didn’t give a sh-t during the genocide, but you know who might? Russia in a future war with Turkey. Look at Artsakh, who stopped the war, EU or US? No it was Russia, and same idiots who are criticizing Russia now over Ukraine have no clue that Ukranian leaders were cheering on Azeris. What happened to our people, it’s like many of us have been dumbed down or brainwashed. Forget that “we are first Christian nation”, “we have European values”, nobody cares!! The only thing the EU is going to accomplish is get rid of the Armenian problem once and for all so that their precious gas and oil lines flow without obstacles. There is no democracy, it’s all an illusion, the world is a corrupt place and Armenians need to wake up before it’s too late.

  7. You can expect Russia to aid in slowing down any border demarcation process or peace in your region, as the continuation of this conflict ensures their parasitic tentacles remain in both Armenia and Azerbaijan for Longer. Right now Putin is distracted with his destruction of Ukraine. The reality stands that the longer this conflict lasts the more dependent Armenia becomes on Russia and the further it gets from the west.

  8. How sweet it is. EU calls for “equitable peace” between Armenia and Azerbaijan, while arming, and assisting Ukraine in her fight against Russia. Oh, my mistake, almost forgot, they are after Azeri oil.

  9. Its in the interest of Armenia to seek peace and trust building with its neighbors. This is something Russia will not like as peace in the south Caucasus effectively limits the vice like grip Russia has over Armenia currently and intends to further tighten, leaving Armenia effectively independent on paper only. just like many of France’s neo-colonies in Africa “independent on paper but all means of production and resources are effectively controlled and siphoned off for use by the colonial master, leaving the ordinary citizen poor,destitute,emigrating to the colonial metropple(in armenias case Russia)to work, with only the elite seeing wealth. If the average Joe only sees war and the threat of war in his future there is nothing stopping a brain drain from Armenia.with a population of three million Armenia should be one of the richest countries in the south Caucasus but you have citizens of armenia working In Moscow and Istanbul.

    • No doubt it is in the interest of all countries to live peacefully with their neighbors. But who are the neighbors and at what cost? Terrorist Turkey seized 90% of the total Armenian landmass a century ago in today’s eastern Turkey, occupied Western Armenia, through mass murder and premeditated race annihilation that resulted in the murder of 1,500,000 indigenous Armenians. Today, the same terrorist Turkey not only denies the state-sponsored terrorism and mass murder of the Armenians but it also demands that Armenia recognizes Turkey’s artificial boundaries achieved through such murders of the native Armenian populations as a price for peaceful coexistence. Terrorist Turkey, the instigator and the conductor of the 2020 terroristic war on the Armenians on behalf of criminal Azerbaijan, also demands Armenia’s recognition of artificial Azerbaijan’s borders and territorial integrity giving away two important pieces of enemy-occupied Armenian territories, namely Artsakh (karabakh) and Nakhijevan, connecting one enemy-occupied Armenian region with another, giving terrorist Turkey direct access to artificial Azerbaijan through sovereign Armenian territory and then onto Central Asia, bringing ever closer together the two hostile and traditional terrorist enemies of Armenia, making Armenia more insecure and vulnerable than ever.

      Given these facts, can anyone realistically call terrorist Turkey and criminal Azerbaijan as neighbors who seek peace with Armenia? One has to be a fool to believe that!

  10. Ukraine Government has chosen a wrong friend! Aliyev is the same as Putin-dictator. Kick Azerbaijan out of GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development! Mr.Zelenskyy, please establish better relationship with Armenia.
    The people of Artsakh suffer as much as the people of Ukraine suffer.

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