MOSCOW — The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to move towards starting a process of delimitating and demarcating their Soviet-era border and pursue unblocking of all economic and transport links in the region as a result of Russia-hosted talks on Friday.
In a trilateral statement released after their meeting in Sochi Russian President Vladimir Putin, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said, in particular, that the parties have agreed “to take steps to increase the level of stability and security on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and to work towards the creation of a bilateral commission on the delimitation of the state border between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia with its subsequent demarcation with the consultative assistance of the Russian Federation at the request of the parties.”
The statement said that the parties also agreed “to intensify joint efforts aimed at the earliest possible resolution of the remaining tasks arising from the statements of November 9, 2020 and January 11, 2021” that includes the resumption of all economic and transport links in the South Caucasus.
“[The parties] have emphasized the need to launch specific projects as soon as possible in order to tap the economic potential of the region. The Russian Federation will continue to provide all necessary assistance in the interest of normalizing relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, creating an atmosphere of trust between the Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples, as well as building good-neighborly relations in the region,” the statement added.
After their talks that, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, lasted for about three hours, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia also made statements for the press, in which all described the meeting as positive.
“We have worked very constructively today. It was a deep analysis of the current situation,” said Putin, adding that agreements had been reached “on a number of key issues.”
“The first of them is the creation of mechanisms of the delimitation and demarcation of the border between the two states, which we have agreed to do by the end of this year. I hope it will be done as soon as possible. There are no obstacles to the creation of these mechanisms,” the Russian leader said.
Putin said “significant progress” was also made on issues of humanitarian nature, implying the repatriation of all prisoners of war and detainees as well as vital demining activities in the region.
He also said that the parties discussed in detail issues of developing economic ties and primarily the issue of unblocking “transport corridors.”
“It concerns both railway and road links. I think that here we should thank our vice-premiers who have been working over this issue for quite a long time now,” the Russian president said.
He said that as part of the agreements made during the November 26 talks deputy prime ministers of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan will gather in Moscow next week “to summarize some results and announce the decisions that we have coordinated today.”
In his remarks Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev expressed a hope that the Sochi talks will lead to results that will make the situation in the South Caucasus “more secure and predictable.”
“Today we had a very detailed and I would say frank conversation on issues of border delimitation and demarcation and unblocking of transport arteries. We openly discussed our plans, we openly discussed issues that cause concern with both sides. The most important thing is that the decisions that we’ve made in the issue of settling disputes, differences will contribute to a more secure and predictable situation in the South Caucasus,” he said.
Aliyev said that Baku also sees willingness from the Armenian side “to create preconditions for the situation in the region to become more predictable.”
“I have repeatedly said that in Azerbaijan we feel like turning over the page of many years of confrontation with Armenia and begin a stage of normal interaction,” Aliyev said. “I think our meeting will lead to good results that won’t make us wait for too long.”
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in his remarks described the meeting as “very positive,” saying that “we have, in fact, discussed all issues of the agenda.”
“This wasn’t a meeting to hide problems. This was a meeting during which we openly discussed all issues. I want to point out that it is very positive that on many issues we clarified our positions, and it turned out that on some issues we have no misinterpretations as it would seem before this meeting. I want to say that, indeed, we stated that in regards to the issue of the opening of all transport and economic links in the region we have a common idea as to how these links will work,” Pashinyan said.
The Armenian leader said that it is necessary to create mechanisms of ensuring security and stability along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan before starting the process of border delimitation and demarcation. He said humanitarian issues were also addressed during the talks.
“On the whole, I too assess today’s talks very positively. I think that we can expect concrete results if we manage to build on the dynamics of our talks,” Pashinyan said.
“I reaffirm the readiness of Armenia and its government that has received a mandate from the people of Armenia to open a peaceful era for our country and our region. This is what we are striving for and today’s meeting is beneficial for the realization of this agenda,” the Armenian leader added.