Nikol Pashinyan does not consider the meeting held during the World Economic Forum in Davos to be an ‘official start to negotiations’ with Ilham Aliyev.
Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met in the Swiss town of Davos, where the World Economic Forum is being held. An informal meeting was held between the national leaders.
What Pashinyan and Aliyev discussed
Pashinyan stated on his Facebook page after the meeting that the two leaders “exchanged opinions about the negotiating process” [for the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – JAMnews]. The meeting lasted for one and a half hours.
Pashinyan provide more details the following day regarding the meeting that had taken place. He said in particular that:
“These unofficial meetings cannot be considered an official start to the negotiations.”
According to Pashinyan, the forum organizers asked the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders – separately – whether they would be opposed to setting up a meeting, to which both he and Aliyev consented.
Pashinyan also stated that at all the meetings that have taken place between himself and Aliyev, they have discussed the history of the negotiation process, the possibility of creating the conditions for resolution, and the hindrances that exist:
“We aren’t discussing any concrete details, simply exchanging opinions and each presenting his perception of the negotiation process.”
This is already the third meeting between Nikol Pashinyan and Ilham Aliyev.
What say the experts?
The Armenian political expert Ayk Martirosyan, commenting on the unofficial meeting on his Facebook page, directed attention to the fact that the meetings between Pashinyan and Aliyev are taking place under conditions of strict confidentiality.
“It’s not clear why this meeting with Aliyev took place. What is Armenia’s interest here? Why was information not provided ahead of time, or why are they not reporting the entire content of their discussions?” wrote Martirosyan.
According to political expert Armen Bagdasaryan, this meeting can be seen in a positive light:
“I don’t think the meeting was planned ahead of time. In any case, it wasn’t negotiations but an exchange of opinions. Concerning the results, it’s hard to say, since there’s not much information. However, such a meeting can be seen as positive.”
The political analyst Akop Badalyan believes that neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan are, as yet, ready to come to a consensus:
“The following circumstances remain along the skirmish lines of the Karabakh conflict: Azerbaijan demands territory without concessions of any sort, whereas Armenia talks of the primary importance of Karabakh’s status, and of renouncing a military solution to the problem. Here there is clear disagreement between the two sides. What we need to understand is: is any country ready to accept concessions? As I see it, the answer is no.”