Armenia and Azerbaijan “remain divergent” on key points of peace treaty

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan (Photo: Twitter/@SecBlinken)

Conflicting reports have emerged on progress achieved during high-level talks in Washington last week, as American and Azerbaijani leaders have struck an optimistic tone while Armenian authorities have noted serious obstacles to a peace deal. 

Armen Grigoryan, Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia, told reporters on Tuesday that the Armenian and Azerbaijani delegations did not make progress on the most fundamental issues under negotiation. Namely, they did not reach agreements on the creation of an international mechanism to oversee talks between Artsakh and Azerbaijan, international guarantees for compliance with a peace treaty and recognition of Armenia’s territorial integrity.

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov held talks in Arlington, Virginia from May 1-4 to negotiate a peace deal titled “Agreement on normalization of relations.” They also met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. 

Armenia and Azerbaijan released brief, identical statements after the marathon talks. The ministers “advanced mutual understanding on some articles of the draft bilateral agreement” while “acknowledging that the positions on some key issues remain divergent,” according to the statement. 

Secretary Blinken said that the sides made “tangible” progress toward signing a peace agreement. He said that both sides “agreed in principle to certain terms.” 

I think the pace of the negotiations and the foundation that our colleagues have built shows that we really are within reach of an agreement. The last mile of any marathon is always the hardest—we know that. But the United States is here to continue to help both of our friends cross the finish line. And as I say, I think we’re very much within reach of that,” Blinken said during the closing session. 

Bayramov was also optimistic about progress made during negotiations, stating that they had taken “one step forward.” He noted “quite a lot of differences between the positions of the parties.”  

“But some points of the peace treaty were agreed upon in those negotiations,” Bayramov told reporters on Wednesday.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, however, said that several obstacles remain to signing a peace agreement. PM Pashinyan said that an international mechanism should be established that would facilitate direct dialogue between Stepanakert and Baku. He added that it has been “impossible” to agree on language recognizing Armenia’s territorial integrity. 

Azerbaijani forces have launched several border attacks on Armenia proper since the end of the 2020 Artsakh War. They have captured at least 215 square kilometers of Armenia’s sovereign territory, according to satellite imagery. 

“Despite all this, Armenia remains committed to the policy of resolving the outstanding issues through negotiations, and we are ready to sign a peace agreement with Azerbaijan,” Pashinyan said during a visit to Prague on May 4.

Political scientist Tigran Grigoryan said that the creation of an international mechanism for direct talks between Artsakh and Azerbaijan “represents a red line for both sides.” Without reaching such an agreement, “Yerevan would, in the words of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, give Baku ‘a mandate for ethnic cleansing’ in Nagorno-Karabakh.”

This is а red line for Baku as well because the establishment of a negotiating format with international involvement would nullify two of its main post-war narratives: first, that the conflict is over; and second, that issues related to Nagorno-Karabakh are purely domestic matters for Azerbaijan,” Grigoryan said in an op-ed for Civilnet. 

The talks in Washington were organized after Azerbaijan set up a checkpoint at the entrance to the Berdzor (Lachin) Corridor from Armenia on April 23. The installation of the checkpoint violates the ceasefire agreement ending the 2020 Artsakh War, which says that the Berdzor Corridor, the sole route connecting Artsakh with Armenia and the rest of the world, will be controlled by Russian peacekeeping forces. Azerbaijan has closed the Berdzor Corridor since December 2022, placing Artsakh under blockade and precipitating a humanitarian crisis. The import of food and medical supplies to the region has come to a halt. 

Artsakh authorities say that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been unable to transport medical patients to Armenia for 11 days due to the checkpoint. The ICRC has transported people from Artsakh to Armenia for medical treatment since the start of the blockade, due to the lack of necessary medical supplies and equipment. Since April 23, the ICRC has only transferred patients to Armenia three times, and none since April 29. Russian peacekeepers have transported two patients in critical condition for treatment. Yet more than 30 people are awaiting medical treatment.  

Negotiations between Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders are scheduled to continue in Brussels this week. PM Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will meet with European Council President Charles Michel on May 14. They will later meet with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on June 1. The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan will also participate in a trilateral meeting in Moscow following talks in Brussels. 

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


Master's candidate in journalism and Near Eastern studies at NYU | Words in @armenianweekly, @DAWN_Journal, @girls_key and @LAReviewofBooks
RT @nyukevo: @kchitwood @nyu_journalism @HLuceFdn Our Kevorkian Center students have made us proud with their achievements @mandytaheri @e - 4 weeks ago
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  1. where is the accounting of the war? There wont be. Because its obvious this loser in Armenia is highly incompetent at best and a traitor at worst. he is the worst thing to happen to the Armenian nation since the genocide itself. Just look at HIS track record: death, destruction and loss. Yes, even worse then the last two thieves that basically robbed Armenia to line their own pockets. Imagine that.

  2. None of those in the abive picture should be trusted. Pashinyan is an incompetent and unpatriotic loser. He is an unscrupulous double-talker, a liar and a traitor to the Armenian nation. Anyone in his position who had even a slight sense of dignity and Armenian pride would have taken full responsibility for his disastrous actions, resigned from his post voluntarily and walked away quietly. He has not done any of those because he is a self-loathing, unapologetic and narcissistic psychopath. The United States should not be trusted either and that for four primary reasons: A. Acting as an energy hub transporting Caspian oil & gas to Europe and as a member of their collective NATO alliance, terrorist Turkey is actively involved in this conflict against Armenia and on the side of our enemy the Soviet-invented artificial gas station of Azerbaijan. B. Their closest ally and morally-bankrupt & hypocritical Israel, which receives tens of billions of dollars in US taxpayer money and charities, is helping and abetting our enemy. With no regard for Armenian lives, a nation that preaches to the world about and against genocide is arming a terrorist state to commit genocide. C. The United States, terrorist Turkey, criminal artificial Azerbaijan and Israel have formed an alliance against Iran and are using occupied Armenian territories bordering Iran as a launching pad to conduct an attack on Iran further isolating Armenia from the rest of the world. D. Hell-bent on driving the Russians out, these forces are manipulating and dividing Armenians and turning them against one another which could turn Armenia into another Georgia or Ukraine. Last but not least, the leadership of criminal artificial Azerbaijan should be trusted when pigs grow wings! I would not trust them even if they were all 10 feet underground!

  3. Armenia should prioritize relations with Iran. Armenians have for centuries prospered in and contributed to Iranian society. Iran has an interest in Syunik/Artsakh security given the Zionist issue in Azerbaijan. And soon Iran will have a new Russian-built air force. Simply denying Azerbaijan the airspace would be a colossal shift from 2020.

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