The Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, held a trilateral meeting in Brussels on Wednesday. After the meeting, it was announced that an agreement was reached to set up a bilateral commission on border delimitation between Armenia and Azerbaijan by the end of April, as envisaged in the agreement which was reached in Sochi on November 26, 2021. The agreement will also be authorized to deal with issues of security and stability along the border. The Prime Minister of Armenia and the President of Azerbaijan instructed their Foreign Ministers to start preparations for peace talks between the two countries.
Since the last meeting between the two leaders, a lot has changed, not only in the Caucasus region, but the whole world which is in crisis as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war leading to new and emerging geopolitical arrangements. Although everyone’s attention is focused on Ukraine, it seems that both Russia and Europe are not ignoring the South Caucasus, where the situation remains tense, due to the provocative actions unleashed by the Azerbaijani side against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and its population. These days, contact between the leaders of Russia and Armenia has become permanent. The heads of european organizations are continuously visiting the region. US Secretary of State Tony Blinken is also closely following the events, often speaking with the Armenian Prime Minister on the phone. It is not yet clear what all this could lead up to, and it will take time for the situation to crystallize.
For its part, Armenia welcomes all kinds of diplomatic initiatives, showing the international community that it is ready to start negotiations on a peace treaty with Azerbaijan, including the status of Artsakh, which, as Foreign Minister Mirzoyan stated, is a matter of principle.
On the eve of the Brussels talks, the Armenian opposition organized a rally to protest against the steps being taken by the government. They claim that by talking about peace, Pashinyan was preparing the ground to hand over Artsakh to Azerbaijan. This is not the first time that the supporters of the Kocharyan-Sargsyan regime have sounded such an “alarm.” In recent months, they raised hysteria about the surrender of the Syunik region, spread false information about the current government providing Azerbaijan a land corridor through Zangezur and spouted other pessimistic predictions, none of which have materialized. Every time Russia or European institutions initiate a Pashinyan-Aliyev meeting, the same old song of “Selling Artsakh” is repeated by the opposition.
We all know that Turkey and Azerbaijan are enemy countries. States negotiate with their enemies, not their friends. We have before us the example of Ukraine, which in the face of bombings, destruction, millions of refugees, and thousands of victims, is negotiating with Russia over the future of the country, while President Zelensky is demanding a meeting with his Russian counterpart.
The policy of peace pursued by the government is the most realistic at this juncture. On the one hand, by showing goodwill, it is trying to keep Armenia and Artsakh out of a new war, and on the other hand, gaining time to reorganize and modernized the military, after which there will be different circumstances and realities.