Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Russian President Vladimir Putin (left to right) attend a trilateral meeting in Moscow, January 11, 2020

Armenian government sources maintain that no Pashinyan-Aliyev-Putin meeting is planned yet. However, the press continues to speculate that such a meeting will take place if there are no last-minute complications. It is believed that the purpose of the meeting is to sign a new document, which will include issues related to borders, demarcation, the opening of means of communication and roads, and recognition of each other’s territorial integrity.

Negotiations on these issues have been going on for some time between Armenia and Azerbaijan at the level of deputy prime ministers. It is possible that these discussions will produce an agreement and the parties will eventually sign a document under the auspices of the Russian government.

Opposition political circles, unfamiliar with the exact content of the documents (which are yet to be made public) are raising an uproar, claiming that such an agreement is to the detriment of Armenia’s national interests and that immediate action should be taken to prevent it from happening.

It is not the first time that the opposition has made such a complaint. Since the war, any time Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan tries to secure some favorable provisions for the Armenian side through diplomatic means, the same circles immediately resort to sharp rhetoric, using the same vocabulary that seems to be their only MO. Even during the war, when the Prime Minister invited them to present the dire situation on the military fronts and spoke candidly about the need to compromise, the same people resorted to political speculation and populist rhetoric refusing any type of concession, rather than looking for what is best for Armenia and Artsakh at that moment. If such an approach had been taken, and consolidation around the government had emerged, as other nations are accustomed to doing so under such circumstances, perhaps it would have been possible to stop the war much sooner with fewer human and territorial losses.

For almost a year now, the government has been trying to mitigate the effects of the war and is negotiating to achieve results. In such cases, the parties are compelled to compromise. These are the rules of the game in international diplomacy. None of the parties can get everything they want or hope to achieve, and have to settle for less than they aspire to.

According to experts, demarcation processes and border disputes require long-term effort that can take years. The opening of roads, railways, and other means of communication for everyone is in the interests of both Azerbaijan and Armenia. Azerbaijan will have a shorter route to the Nakhichevan region. Meanwhile, new roads will be open to Armenia linking with Russia and other countries. Such conditions will undoubtedly contribute to the improvement of the economy and raise the living standards of the people. Such an agreement will also, once and for all close the page of “Zangezur Corridor” demanded by Azerbaijan, but categorically rejected by Armenia, which continues to insist that this issue is not a matter of discussion and never will be.

As for the issue of recognizing each other’s territorial integrity, there is no need to worry, as long as “Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, including Nagorno Karabakh” is not specifically cited. France and the United States, as well as other countries, continue to insist that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not resolved while recognizing Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. There are many such examples in many parts of the world.

Foreign policy is the sole responsibility of the governments elected by the people. The current Armenian authorities have recently received a mandate at the polls to negotiate and defend the interests of the country. That is what Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s government is doing and his critics must wait for the outcome, especially since they have no alternative proposals or plans.

“MASSIS”

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