YEREVAN — Deputy prime ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan met on Tuesday for the first round of negotiations on demarcating the long and heavily militarized border between the two states.
Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Shahin Mustafayev held the talks at an undisclosed section of the border one day after being appointed as chairmen of separate Armenian and Azerbaijani government commissions on the border demarcation.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry said they discussed “procedural and organizational issues relating to joint activities of the commissions.” Grigoryan and Mustafayev decided to hold their next meetings in Moscow and Brussels, the ministry said without giving dates.
The two men have also co-headed, together with Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk, a Russian-Armenian-Azerbaijani working group dealing with practical modalities of opening transport links between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The group has not met since December.
Grigoryan’s meeting with Mustafayev came two days after the latest Armenian-Azerbaijani summit hosted by European Council President Charles Michel in Brussels. Michel said Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev agreed to launch the demarcation process “in the coming days.”
The process is meant to end long-running border disputes and skirmishes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces that have broken out regularly throughout the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It was supposed to get underway shortly after Aliyev’s and Pashinyan’s trilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin held in Sochi last November.
I earnestly hope that the top Armenian experts, notably ROUBEN GALICHIAN, are being consulted.