Armenia proposed border demarcation concept to Azerbaijan - What went wrong?
Armenia has prepared new proposal for the demarcation and delimitation of the border with Azerbaijan. According to Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, a package of measures aimed at de-escalating the situation, increasing the level of security and stability on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border has been transferred to Azerbaijan via Russian side.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov has already stated that “Yerevan’s preconditions regarding the beginning of demarcation” are unacceptable for Baku. In turn, Yerevan stated that no preconditions had been put forward.
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“Mirror withdrawal of troops”
The Armenian Foreign Minister refused to disclose the details of the proposal, as it still under discussion, but said that they proceed from the concept of a mirror withdrawal of troops, which Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has already spoken about more than once.
“I can only say that we propose taking the Soviet borders as the basis for the process”, Ararat Mirzoyan told the deputies of the Armenian parliament.
At the same time, he stressed that if the demarcation and elimination proceeds according to the presented concept, not a single Armenian settlement or road will remain unprotected.
The proposal of Prime Minister Pashinyan has been criticized more than once by local political scientists and the Armenian Human Rights Defender – precisely from this point of view.
In particular, the Ombudsman considers the mirror withdrawal of troops “an incorrectly implemented political approach, which violates mechanisms for the protection of human rights”.
“Where shall we go? Where do we need to leave? The entire line of contact in many places passes through the homes of our citizens, along the lands belonging to our citizens. Our citizens do not have the opportunity to cultivate and use their lands because Azerbaijani armed forces are physically present on their lands. Therefore, this approach does not ensure the observance of human rights”, said Arman Tatoyan.
In Armenia, it is being discussed whether some settlements of Armenia will be left unprotected, since the border passes near the villages. In this regard, Armen Grigoryan, Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia, has already made clarifications. He assured that with the delimitation and demarcation of the border with Azerbaijan, not a single part of the country’s territory will end up in the neutral zone:
“Our proposals also include solutions to such situations – border troops will stand right along such settlements, close to the border”.
“Preconditions are unacceptable”
In response, Assistant to the president of Azerbaijan, Hikmet Hajiyev stated that “Yerevan must correctly assess the new geopolitical realities in the region and draw conclusions from this”.
A more direct response from official Baku was made the day before, on January 19. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, during a meeting with OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmidt in Vienna, said that preconditions for the beginning of demarcation are unacceptable for Baku.
At the same time, the head of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry stressed that demarcation is an important component of the normalization of relations, Baku is in favor of starting it immediately, but “without preconditions”.
There is no word yet on what preconditions are being referred to.
“Armenia has no preconditions”
Armenia has already responded by saying that there are no preconditions in the presented concept. The press secretary of the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Vahan Hunanyan, suggested that “some misunderstanding has arisen on this issue”, since the presented document did not contain any preconditions, but agreements:
“The trilateral statement adopted by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, the President of the Russian Federation and the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Sochi on November 26 reads that the sides agreed to “undertake steps towards increasing security and stability on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border and to take the matter to the establishment of a bilateral delimitation and demarcation commission”.
This arrangement was reiterated and an agreement on the withdrawal of troops was reached on December 14 during a trilateral meeting of the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Brussels, mediated by the President of the European Council. Accordingly the proposals of the Armenian side are not about preconditions, but the implementation of the agreements reached. The Republic of Armenia believes that the delimitation process should be launched soon, in accordance with the above-mentioned agreements”.