The first official meeting between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev took place in Vienna, under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group. At the end of the meeting, the Minsk Group co-chairs issued a statement emphasizing that the meeting took place in a positive and constructive atmosphere and gave the two leaders an opportunity to clarify their respective positions.
Naturally, such general statements do not shed much light on the closed door discussions, but one thing is clear: recently, the Azerbaijani side has become much more cautious around the negotiating table and also on the frontlines. Perhaps, this change in attitude was influenced by Armenia’s new negotiating posture, demanding Artsakh’s representatives involvement in the negotiations, and its demand to revisit all the principles which were discussed in the past.
On the other side of the ocean, in New York, during a meeting with the Armenian community defence minister David Donoyan made a remarkable statement. He indicated that to Azerbaijan’s proposal of “Peace in exchange for territories” the Armenian side has a response: “New war, new territories”. Meaning, if Azerbaijan resorts to military actions, the Armenian army is ready to take additional lands under its control. Although, this was not the first time Donoyan was hinting in that direction, this time he was much more clear in formulating Armenia’s revised military strategy.
It is obvious that the new authorities of Armenia are currently the ones, who are dictating the agenda on the Artsakh issue. Also, in case of resumption of hostilities, they are prepared to face all the possibilities and challenges.
In football (soccer) it is often said that “attacking is the best way of defending.” It seems that this principle is the one adopted by the Armenian side from Vienna to New York and the first results are quite positive and striking.