"An extremely useful meeting" - results of the trilateral Putin-Pashinyan-Aliyev meeting in Sochi
The Presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia made statements after the end of a trilateral meeting in Sochi. All participants of the talks unanimously assessed them as effective, as well as “highly useful and timely”. As a result of the negotiations, a joint statement was made. Next week there will be another trilateral meeting of the leaders in Moscow.
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- Armenian opposition: Demarcation, delimination of borders under threat or use of force is invalid
Azerbaijan and Armenia have been anxiously awaiting the results of these talks. In the morning, the telegram channels of Azerbaijan and Armenia reported that the combat positions were fully mobilized.
The meeting began later than the advertised hour. At first, the Russian president met with his Azerbaijani counterpart. The conversation with the Prime Minister of Armenia took place after the trilateral talks.
Full text of the trilateral statement
“We, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan I. Aliyev, Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia N. Pashinyan, and the President of the Russian Federation V. V. Putin, met on November 26, 2021, in Sochi and discussed the implementation of the Declaration of November 9, 2020, on the full cessation of fire and all military activities in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as well as the Declaration of January 11, 2021, on the unblocking of all economic and transport sectors.[We] approved the further follow-up and non-judgmental observance of all provisions of November 9, 2020. and January 11, 2021 for the purpose of ensuring stability, security, and economic development of the South Caucasus. [We] agreed to activate joint efforts aimed at resolving the remaining issues deriving from November 9, 2020 and January 11, 2021 statements. The important contribution of the Russian peacekeeping contingent to the stabilization of the situation and security in the region was also noted. [We] agreed to take steps to increase the level of stability and security at the Azerbaijani-Armenian border and to report on the establishment of a bilateral commission on the delimitation of the state border between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Azerbaijan. [We] highly appreciated the activities of the three-party working group under the joint chairmanship of the Deputy Prime Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, and the Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, created under the statement of January 11, 2021, and which is currently working on the unblocking of all economic and transport links in the region. [We] emphasized the need to speed up the launch of specific projects was in order to unravel the economic potential of the region. The Russian Federation will continue to provide all the necessary assistance in the normalization of relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, the creation of an atmosphere of trust between the Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples, as well as the development of relations between the two countries.
Expert opinion from Yerevan
Expert on the Karabakh conflict, coordinator of the Center for Armenian Studies ANI Tatul Hakobyan expressed his views on the current situation on the eve of the meeting.
Many are now ready to listen to him, including those who disagree with him as he was the first on the scheduled meeting back in October. Hakobyan even specified the date and the agenda of the meeting. His reports were repeatedly refuted – both in regards to the date and the content of the talks. However, it turned out later that such reports were true, and were confirmed by the Prime Minister of Armenia.
Nikol Pashinyan said that he was offered to meet on November 9 – the anniversary of the end of hostilities in Karabakh, which is tragically perceived in society, and so he proposed to change the date.
In addition, the Armenian Prime Minister confirmed that it is possible to sign a document on the demarcation and delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, as previously reported by Tatul Hakobyan. However, Pashinyan stated that this would only be a provision on the establishment of commissions on demarcation and delimitation and the beginning of work in this direction. The Prime Minister assured that the document will not contain any specific decisions on where the border would pass.
Tatul Hakobyan stated at the time of his live on November 25:
“Now the authorities say that if something is signed, it will be only about the creation of commissions on demarcation and delimitation. Continue to mislead the Armenian people, continue to mislead them. Anyway, one morning we will wake up and find out that you signed some documents”.
As far as negotiations are concerned, when it comes to the possible options for the development of the situation, in the opinion of the expert, Armenia will be faced with a “catastrophic, hellish choice”:
“What are the ways out of this situation? I suggest discussing several options that we may have.
The first one concerns us losing statehood. There is a lot of talk about it now. […] I consider this to be the most dangerous opinion, which, in my view, is specifically spread to sow fear and horror, to discredit the authorities. You can discredit the authorities, but you should not intimidate the Armenian people. […]
Convinced that the Armenian people, we, the inhabitants of Armenia, first of all, save this country, Armenia will not be destroyed. Yes, our sovereignty and independence are limited, they have never been limited since 1991. But I am sure that we will preserve our statehood. […]
The second option will leave us even weaker, we would lose more and more sovereignty and independence and join some union. Such a precedent has already been observed in our history. […] In other words, we enter the Belarus-Russia alliance or some other alliance, as was the case in 1922. […] Do we want this? I, for example, do not want it.
I would like us to realize our potential, but remain an independent state, which is forced to live between Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran and Georgia.
The third option involves us not negotiating with the Azerbaijanis as they did after 1994 [when the first Karabakh war ended]. They waited for a long time until September 27, 2020, decided to start a war, and defeated us on the battlefield with the help of Turkey and mercenaries – under the complete silence of the international community. […]
Can we now act as Azerbaijan? […] Do we have this resource? Maybe, I don’t know. Who are our allies? Russia? I don’t know. France? I don’t know either. The United States? In fact, I know, I imagine, what kind of help we can get, because we already have a bitter experience of the 44-day war, that is the bitter experience of our state. […]
The third option is revenge. Do we have the opportunity to carry it out? Can a three-million-dollar Armenia fight with tens of millions of Azerbaijanis and 80 million Turks who will come to its rescue? Let’s talk about it, I don’t know”.
Tatul Hakobyan believes that instead of constructive discussions, the Armenian society feeds on “illusory hopes”, and these views are more popular than realistic ones, based on the real possibilities for the country.
Expert opinion from Baku
According to political commentator Agshin Kerimov, the trilateral statement signed by the presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and the prime minister of Armenia at a meeting in Sochi reflects the pressure of the first two parties on Nikol Pashinyan.
“The general spirit of the statement is a logical continuation of similar statements from November 10 and January 11 of the current year, and creates a political base for the urgent fulfillment of obligations taken by the parties to the previous documents.
Nikol Pashinyan, who spoke about the military, and once again used the expression “Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”, demonstrated the only non-constructive position in the open press.
His position can be assessed as follows:
First – he wanted to express his position in the final document of the meeting;
Second – he created the image of a “wrestler” in the Armenian society and thus tried to secure himself in the future.
However, in the final statement, there was no place for the Karabakh issue, nor for the military one. This eloquently speaks of the strong pressure of the Baku-Moscow line on Yerevan.
The document addresses the issue of establishing a bilateral Armenian-Azerbaijani commission on delimitation and demarcation of the border. But Russia does not miss the opportunity to give the form and scale to this process, and, therefore, in the document, it is specifically emphasized that Russia can help this process upon the request.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin decided to meet the interests of Azerbaijan, and at the press conference after the meeting specifically marked the issue of corridors. He emphasized that talking about corridors implies both highways and railroads. This means that Russia supports the opening of the Zangezur corridor, and puts pressure on Armenia in this matter.
Following the text of the statement, it is possible to assume that in the next month and in the following year, important decisions will be made for the purpose of creating conditions for the peace process.
The statement emphasizes the role of the Russian peacekeeping contingent, and it serves the interests of Russia. Russian peacekeeping forces are one of the means by which Russia is holding the levers of influence in the region. Moscow does not want to part with this effective tool. In general, the statement can be positively assessed, I think that the Azerbaijani side can be satisfied with the text of the document”, said Kerimov.