Why were the Armenian-Azerbaijani talks postponed? Opinions
Armenian-Azerbaijani talks postponed
According to an official statement from the Armenian Foreign Ministry, the Armenian-Azerbaijani talks scheduled for June 12 in Washington were postponed “at the request of the Azerbaijani side.” Baku did not comment on the reasons, and the Americans have not yet announced when the next round of negotiations is planned for.
According to Olesya Vardanyan, senior analyst at the International Crisis Group for the South Caucasus, Baku’s request to postpone the talks indicates that Azerbaijan “has not yet made up its mind on a number of key issues” related to the peace treaty.
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“Delayed talks will take place very soon”
Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia Tigran Khachatryan told journalists about this a few hours ago, but did not provide details, and did not answer the question whether the Armenian government received a response from Baku to its latest proposals on the draft peace treaty.
“If at some stage we made a proposal regarding which we still do not know the position of the Azerbaijani side or vice versa, these are all normal processes. There is no need to look for something special behind it. It is important that recently the parties have noticed a convergence of points of view in the course of discussions and negotiations,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
Press Secretary of the Armenian Foreign Ministry Ani Badalyan, announcing the cancellation of the expected meeting at the request of the Azerbaijani side, assured that the date of the next talks would be announced as soon as the terms were agreed.
The press secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, Aykhan Hajizade, limited himself to the following statement:
“The meeting is expected soon. As a rule, there is a practice of announcing the exact dates of the meeting by the host country.”
The mediators of the talks also avoided commenting on the reasons for the postponement of the scheduled meeting and on the possible date for a new one.
“We look forward to another round of talks as the parties continue to strive for a peaceful future in the South Caucasus region. Direct dialogue is the key to solving problems, achieving a lasting and dignified peace, ” the US State Department said in a statement.
Armenian experts initially did not pin great hopes on the talks in Washington, emphasizing the fact that the positions of the parties on key issues are very far from each other. In confirmation, quotes were cited from the speech of the President of Azerbaijan, where Aliyev said that the Karabakh Armenians should “throw their fake “state attributes” into the trash can and dissolve the “parliament”, obey the laws of Azerbaijan.
Political observer Hakob Badalyan described these statements as an “ultimatum”. He specifically noted the tough rhetoric coming from Baku, and advised paying attention to the news from Azerbaijan, in which “recently it has been reported about the alleged violations of the ceasefire regime by Armenian forces.”
“This situation allows us to say that on the eve of the Washington talks there were no prerequisites for expecting the effectiveness of these talks, the possibility of progress,” he said.
Olesya Vardanyan, Senior Analyst of the International Crisis Group for the South Caucasus, believes that after negotiations at different levels and in different capitals, discussions have reached a “decisive stage”:
“Important decisions must be made regarding important sections of the future peace agreement, in particular, the future of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh and the process of demarcation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.”
She believes that there is still no certainty in Azerbaijan on these issues, which is why Baku decided to postpone the talks in Washington.
According to acting Director of Programs for Russia and Europe at the US Institute of Peace Heather Ashby, the next round of US-brokered talks will focus on two main issues:
- “the status of Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan, the provision of security guarantees to Karabakh Armenians by Baku”,
- “transport corridor connecting Azerbaijan with Nakhichevan”.
Ashby believes that providing security guarantees to the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh will contribute to “creating confidence in the negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan”:
“As for the Azerbaijan-Nakhichevan connection, Russia and Iran have their own interests in this “corridor”. And they will try to influence Armenia and Azerbaijan to make sure that the transport route does not contradict their interests in the region. For Russia, this transport corridor is more important.”
Despite Baku’s demands, the Armenian authorities have repeatedly stated that there can be no question of providing an extraterritorial corridor through their sovereign territory. The Armenian government believes that the unblocking of communications, provided for by the tripartite statement of November 9, 2020, provides for procedures only in accordance with the laws of the countries. That is, each of the countries provides roads through its territory, but not a “corridor”, since this term implies a loss of control in this territory.
Armenian-Azerbaijani talks postponed