Pashinyan, Aliyev agree to draft peace deal

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, European Council President Charles Michel, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan meet in Brussels (European Council, August 31)

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev agreed to “step up substantive work” on a peace treaty during their fourth trilateral meeting hosted by European Council President Charles Michel in Brussels on August 31.

Michel praised the over four hour long meeting, during which the leaders also discussed border issues, humanitarian issues and connectivity, as “open and productive.” 

Today, we agree to step up substantive work to advance on the peace treaty governing inter-state relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” read a statement by Michel released after the meeting. The leaders resolved to task their Foreign Ministers to meet within one month to work on draft texts. 

Michel has brokered two previous trilateral meetings with the South Caucasus leaders this year. During a trilateral summit in Brussels on April 6, Pashinyan and Aliyev agreed to start work on the preparation of a peace treaty. 

Armenia accepted a five-point proposal from Azerbaijan in March regarding the elements that would be enshrined in a peace treaty, including 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. The Armenian side has also said that guaranteeing the security and rights of the Armenians of Artsakh and determining the final status of Artsakh should be part of a peace deal. 

Pashinyan, Aliyev and Michel also “reviewed progress on all questions related to the delimitation of the border and how to best ensure a stable situation.” They decided that the bilateral commission on the delimitation of the state border will hold its next meeting in Brussels in November. 

The commission held its second meeting the day before Pashinyan and Aliyev’s meeting in Brussels. 

During the August 30 meeting hosted in Moscow, the sides “discussed organizational and procedural issues, exchanged detailed views on the regulation of the joint activity and further workings of the commissions,” according to near identical statements from the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministries. They also “expressed gratitude to the Russian side for organizing the meeting at a high level.” 

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan shake hands (European Council, August 31)

In a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Russian side “expressed readiness to continue consultative and technical assistance” on border delimitation, “promoting stability and security in the border areas.” 

Pashinyan and Aliyev decided to launch negotiations on border delimitation during their previous meeting in Brussels on May 23. That same day, Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Shahin Mustafayev were appointed the heads of a bilateral commission on border delimitation and demarcation. 

Grigoryan and Mustafayev held their first meeting on May 24 at an undisclosed location along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. They “reiterated their readiness to work on delimitation and other relevant issues, including border security issues within the commissions,” according to the Armenian Foreign Ministry.  

Pashinyan, Aliyev and Michel also “reviewed progress of discussions on the modalities for unblocking the transport links” during this week’s summit. 

During their May 23 meeting, Pashinyan and Aliyev agreed on “principles governing transit between western Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan, and between different parts of Armenia via Azerbaijan” regarding “border administration, security, land fees but also customs in the context of international transport,” without identifying what those principles are. 

The November 9, 2020 ceasefire agreement ending the 2020 Artsakh War states that, within the process of opening regional economic and transport connections, Armenia would provide transport links between the western regions of Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan in order to organize the unimpeded movement of citizens, vehicles and goods in both directions. 

Aliyev has repeatedly called for the creation of a “Zangezur corridor” passing through Armenia’s southern province Syunik free of passport or customs controls, a demand that the Armenian government has rejected. 

Pashinyan said that Armenia is prepared to facilitate transit between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan “right today” and invited people from Azerbaijan to travel through Armenia to Nakhichevan during a cabinet meeting on August 4. 

“We are ready to provide that connection every day during this time. It is Azerbaijan that does not take advantage of the opportunities provided by us. We still say today that in accordance with the procedure established by the legislation of the Republic of Armenia, come, cross the border of Armenia, go to Nakhichevan. Just today,” Pashinyan said

Pashinyan, Aliyev and Michel also had a “detailed discussion on humanitarian issues, including demining, detainees and the fate of missing persons” this week. 

“President Michel stressed to Azerbaijan the importance of further release of Armenian detainees,” Michel’s statement reads. 

On August 30, Armenia’s human rights defender Kristine Grigoryan reported that 303 Armenian soldiers and civilians are still considered missing as a result of the 2020 Artsakh War, according to data provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross. 

The continuous Azerbaijani policy of providing distorted or no information at all on the prisoners of war, civilian captives and missing persons is a blatant act of using human rights issues for political purposes, violating all norms of international humanitarian law,” Grigoryan said.

Those considered missing include detainees whose status has not been confirmed by Azerbaijan who either remain in captivity or have been extrajudicially killed, according to Grigoryan. 

The Armenian Foreign Ministry said it is “impossible to accurately estimate the number of missing persons” or “acquire reliable information regarding the fate or whereabouts of those disappeared, and whether they are still alive” due to Azerbaijan’s lack of cooperation.”

“With all these discussions, I would like to underline that it is important to take the population along on both sides and prepare them for a long-term sustainable peace,” Michel wrote in his statement.

“Public messaging is critical in this regard—in a sensitive situation like this every word spoken in public is obviously listened to by the other side and weighed,” Michel continued. 

Meanwhile, the Lachin (Berdzor) corridor officially shut down on August 30, and Artsakh authorities said that Russian peacekeepers have been deployed to a new route connecting Armenia and Stepanakert. 

On August 5, following Azerbaijan’s latest border attacks on Artsakh, Artsakh authorities announced that the residents of the villages Aghavno and Nerkin Sus and the town Berdzor along the Lachin corridor would have to evacuate their homes by August 25, ahead of the handover of those communities to Azerbaijan and the closure of the Lachin corridor. 

The ceasefire agreement ending the 2020 Artsakh War states that Armenia and Azerbaijan would form a plan within the next three years for the construction of a new traffic route along the Lachin corridor, providing communication between Stepanakert and Armenia. Armenia commenced the construction of its portion of the alternate route this summer. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said on August 5 that the Azerbaijani section of the road, which had been under rapid construction for months, is nearly complete. 

By August 25, all of the Armenian residents of the three communities along the Lachin corridor had left. Yet the new route was not yet operational. The Artsakh Interior Ministry announced that the Lachin corridor would continue to operate until August 31 and that Russian peacekeepers would continue to ensure safe passage along that route. 

Saleh Mammadov, the chair of Azerbaijan’s State Agency of Automobile Roads, said that since Armenia had not completed the construction of its portion of the highway, Azerbaijan had “undertaken the construction of another 4.8 kilometer road connecting to the new highway.” Mammadov said it would be “possible to use this highway within the next week.” 

The five-kilometer road will function temporarily until Armenia builds its section of the route, which the Armenian government has announced will be completed by next spring.

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.
Particularly relevant comments today, as #Azerbaijan has launched a full-scale attack on #Armenia https://t.co/pW93IgzA6b - 2 weeks ago

10 Comments

  1. Europe is fully corrupted they talking about human rights democracy but they make invesments in anti democratic dictatorship countries including all turkic and arab countries,Armeni shouldnt trust EU they will betray us in first chance just like EU sided with kosovar muslims against christian serbs because of serbia fellow pro russian policy

  2. Accepting Azerbaijani five points proposal peace treaty by Pashinyan is unacceptable including mutual recognition of territorial integrity!
    Where Nigora Garabagh independence falls in this agreement?

  3. Look at Pashiyev. He definitely projects himself as a loser. Aliyev is eagerly shaking hands as he got what he needs. Armenia doesn’t need any peace agreement with liars. Azers have a lot to lose if they don’t want to be peaceful. They have wealthy cities and oil. Armenians open your eyes. You have power. Remove Pashiyev.

  4. shaking hands with a dirty azeri otto man or person is like sleeping in the pig stool = they are our perpetucal enemy- and soon we shall see them gone

  5. Pashinyan owes his people responsibility and answer alone and not some diaspora Armenians who are thousands of miles away with a golden spoon in their mouths and a breeze of nationalism making big statements. Armenia sits in a neighboring location with Turkish peoples and in the long run hatred eats up all sides but peace brings a full mag and a future for our country and children. Pashinyan does everything right!

  6. Pashinyan is in a tough spot (or he got himself into a tough spot). If he says no to Azeri territorial claims, they’ll just step up and take the territory anyway. Before the war, it was different. But those days are gone.

  7. Yes, we can’t trust the Turks but we also have to learn to be diplomatic. We cannot be stubborn and act like we can stand against an army that is oil rich and with the backing of the U.S.A. and the EU. We need to be diplomatic with our neighbors so the borders can be opened, and our country can start thriving and to get strong.

  8. This failed journalist turned make-believe Prime Minister is Armenia’s embarrassment. One really has to be a psychopath to continue believing and acting like everything is normal, talk about making peace with the devil, and shake the hands of a racist anti-Armenian mass murdering coward like this pseudo-Turkish mutt Aliyev. There is only one way to deal with this Azeri mutt, an empty suit, who bought and paid for with petrodollars this terroristic war, planned provoked and dictated by terrorist NATO member Turkey, he could not even dream of in thirty years. It does not take a genius to understand that criminal tyrants don’t talk peace to losers. They dictate peace to losers like him. You can tell, just from his demeanor alone, that there is not even an ounce of dignity, never mind any sense of patriotism, left in this sorry excuse for an Armenian leader. If there was any he would have left his post two years ago and allowed someone else in position of authority face this hyena-minded opportunist and two-faced Azeri chicken-hawk and scoundrel who was MIA at his ripe military age during the first Artsakh liberation war thirty years ago hiding and waiting out the war in his beloved terrorist Turkey and Russia.

    Setting aside all lack of dignity, morality and any sense of patriotism, how can any real leader allow himself talk peace, and everything else at the expense of Armenia, with a fake leader of an artificial state, a gas station disguised as a country, itself invented a century ago on occupied Armenian homeland in the first place? He talks about facilitating a land passage connecting artificial Azerbaijan to Nakhijevan like it is a business transaction not realizing that allowing such a passage is no different from connecting one enemy-occupied Armenian territory to another. Besides, such a land passage already exists through Iranian territory. Why do they need another one through Armenia if not for future evil plan against Armenia? How soon did he forget that not so long ago at least 50% of Nakhijevan was populated by indigenous Armenians until the last one of them was kicked out by racist enemy policies and the Armenian houses of worship turned into mosques and any and every sign of Armenian existence there erased and deliberately destroyed. The last one of such criminal anti-Armenian activity being 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 more Azeri terrorists to kill Armenians.

    Furthermore, these so-called seven regions they were going to hand over to that despicable enemy years ago, in return for security apparently which they never got, were actually and mostly parts of NKR to begin with. They were chipped away piece by piece illegally and integrated into artificial Azerbaijan long before NKR was declared autonomous. Most of the regions in and around NKR turned over to the enemy, including the towns and villages recently ethnically-cleansed and their Armenian populations forced out, were all integral parts of NKR before its status change and at the time when the Soviet criminals took it from the Armenians and placed them under enemy jurisdiction. Why don’t these incompetent Armenian leaders talk about these historical facts? Why don’t they talk about the fact that when this enemy artificial cesspool declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 it did so by claiming itself as successor state to that of the 1918 pre-Soviet first Azerbaijani “democratic” republic, and not to that of Azerbaijan-SSR of 1920, and therefore NKR stays outside of its boundaries with no “legal” claims to it? And that NKR only and illegally becomes an occupied part of it when it was Sovietized two years later thus making its claims to these Armenian territories baseless. Interestingly though, when it comes to boundary demarcations and contrary to their claims, they insist on using the Soviet era maps in orders to maximize their thefts from Armenia. This is the worst and the most disastrous leader ever the ignorant and politically-gullible Armenian population has been tricked into voting into office. The sooner he steps down and resigns from his post the sooner Armenia can recover from this situation he has created. You don’t make peace with an enemy that has falsified history through occupation and considers all Armenians enemies of this artificial cesspool regardless of their place of birth. You elect a true independent-minded patriot to lead the country, invest heavily in military with modern and advanced weapons AND then dictate peace to this filthy enemy!

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