“Pashinyan failed to prevent the agenda promoted by Aliyev.” Opinion from Yerevan
Opinion on the Pashinyan-Aliev-Michel meeting
Yerevan is discussing the Pashinyan–Aliyev meeting held in Brussels through the mediation of the head of the European Council. Publications appeared in the Armenian media summarizing the results of the negotiations between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan. All analysts are forced to judge them on the basis of the final statement of the mediator, Charles Michel.
Armenian political scientists are unanimous that they failed to bring the positions of the parties closer on key issues. However, Azerbaijan was able to advance its agenda — with the “legitimate participation of Armenia.”
The only agreement is to intensify work
After the meeting in Brussels, a publication appeared on the website of the Armenian government listing the topics covered:
- “the deepening humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh due to the illegal blocking of the Lachin corridor by Azerbaijan,
- work to demarcate and secure the borders between the two countries,
- unblocking regional transport and economic infrastructure,
- agreement on the settlement of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan,
- the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh,
- the issue of prisoners, missing persons and other humanitarian problems”.
The publication refers to only one agreement, which was reached after almost three hours of negotiations:
“An agreement was reached to intensify work to resolve the issues discussed.”
Michel on the delivery of humanitarian goods to NK through Aghdam
Charles Michel issued a statement describing the meeting as “sincere and meaningful”. He stressed that the talks took place “against a backdrop of rising tensions,” but there is progress in political discussions and efforts.
About the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, he said that it was unstable and “does not serve anyone’s interests”:
“I stressed that it is necessary to open the Lachin road, and also emphasized Azerbaijan’s readiness to carry out humanitarian supplies through Aghdam. I consider both options important and I urge the parties to make humanitarian deliveries to meet the needs of the local population.”
According to him, the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh, first of all, need to be guaranteed their rights and security:
“In this context, I expressed the European Union’s support for a direct dialogue between the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region and Baku. This dialogue should provide much-needed confidence for all parties.”
According to political scientist Tigran Grigoryan, the text of Charles Michel’s statement as a whole reflects the position and ideas of Baku regarding the solution of certain issues. He got the impression that the vital issues for Armenia were not presented properly. And not only during the latest talks, but also at meetings held in other formats.
“Even in conditions when Azerbaijan has already violated all possible red lines on earth and theoretically should be under strong pressure from mediators, Baku manages to consistently promote its agenda and narratives with Armenia’s passive and legitimizing participation,” Grigoryan believes.
“Considering the issue of “humanitarian” supplies from Agdam to Nagorno-Karabakh on the same plane as the issue of opening the Lachin corridor, Michel actually legitimized the blackmail of Azerbaijan and created a new opportunity for Baku not to make concessions on the issue of unblocking the Lachin corridor,” the analyst emphasized.
He recalled that a few days before the meeting, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov talked about the delivery of goods through Agdam. In his opinion, the position on the restoration of communications and infrastructures from the territory of Azerbaijan is being promoted in this way:
“And this is one of the main goals of the blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh, part of the integration policy. Michel’s inclusion of this Azerbaijani agenda in the text of the statement is simply unacceptable and dangerous. It may call into question the statements and decisions on this topic by a number of international structures.”
He believes that such announcements are most likely agreed in advance with the parties to the negotiations. In this connection, he considers “it is not clear what the Prime Minister of Armenia was doing during these negotiations.” Emphasizes that earlier the Armenian authorities referred to the obligations of Russia and Azerbaijan, enshrined in a statement dated November 9, 2020, and refused to negotiate on the unblocking of the Lachin corridor:
“Now it turns out that Pashinyan, participating in negotiations on this issue, not only deviated from the line of his own government, but also could not (or did not want to) prevent the inclusion of the Azerbaijani dangerous agenda in Michel’s statement.”
Grigoryan does not notice any progress on the issue of creating a negotiating mechanism between the Armenians of NK and Baku and emphasizes that in the statement “there is no mention of interference in this process by international actors.”
The head of the European Council said leaders “reaffirmed the gentlemanly approach to releasing soldiers who inadvertently switch sides.” And, according to Grigoryan, this is exactly what Azerbaijan was trying to achieve by kidnapping two Armenian servicemen from the territory of Armenia:
“If this “gentleman’s agreement” is implemented, the kidnapped Armenian servicemen will be exchanged for Azerbaijani saboteurs who invaded the territory of Armenia and committed crimes. And dozens of other Armenian prisoners will continue to be held in Baku.”
Opinion on the Pashinyan-Aliev-Michel meeting