Political analysts weigh in ahead of Armenia-Azerbaijan foreign ministerial in Washington D.C.
YEREVAN, JUNE 26, ARMENPRESS. Although Armenia and Azerbaijan both want to swiftly sign a peace treaty, there are outstanding issues standing in the way, analysts concur.
“The United States has great desire and capabilities to contribute to the normalization between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but nonetheless this doesn’t mean that the U.S. will solve all issues instead of us or that it ought to,” political scientist Areg Kochinyan told ARMENPRESS.
Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan has departed for the U.S. to hold another round of talks with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov.
“What matters here is how effectively Armenia is working with the American side and to what extent could the desires and capabilities of the U.S. serve to the normalization of relations,” Kochinyan added, noting that the Washington platform is a very promising format.
“There are fundamental disagreements regarding the main four packages. These are the protection of rights and security of Armenians of Artsakh, the basis for the delimitation and demarcation process between Armenia and Azerbaijan, unblocking of connections and the existence of a guarantor of the document itself. You certainly can’t solve all issues with one meeting, but if progress were to be recorded and positions were to be brought closer in one of the packages during the Washington talks, then the meeting could be deemed as a success. Now what matters is to differentiate the fundamental issues and engage in focused talks around separately viewed issues,” Kochinyan said, adding that a general or packaged logic for resolving issues is a deadlock.
The analyst said that authorities ought to approach the process pragmatically, because it is easier to reach agreements in case of a phased process rather than a packaged option.
Meanwhile, political scientist Hrant Mikayelyan says that Armenia, Azerbaijan and the U.S. all want a swift signing of a peace treaty.
“But on the other hand, there’s a desire in Azerbaijan to change the negotiations process in terms of content, with the purpose of coercing more concessions from Armenia. In such conditions, it is highly likely that a final peace treaty won’t be signed at this phase. In the beginning the talks were proceeding around the status of Artsakh, then the main objective was to ensure stability, but now Azerbaijan says that there is no Nagorno Karabakh conflict at all, whereas the Armenian government insists that the Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh must be given firm guarantees of protection of their security and rights. International organizations and structures are also calling for this, but Azerbaijan is ignoring these calls, seeking to navigate the talks in a course that would be beneficial only for itself,” Mikayelyan warned.
The expert said that the calls by international organizations won’t bring Azerbaijan into the constructive arena given the fact that it has disregarded the International Court of Justice ruling on the Lachin Corridor.
“Azerbaijan is thinking that if it succeeds in carrying out a policy of ethnic cleansing and no one is interfering then it should continue doing so and then deal with the consequences,” he added.
Russia, the U.S., European organizations have all called on Azerbaijan to open Lachin Corridor, but Baku is ignoring the demands.
Azerbaijan won’t change its conduct unless faced with sanctions, Mikayelyan said.
Lachin Corridor, the only road linking Nagorno Karabakh to Armenia, has been blocked by Azerbaijan since December 2022.
The United Nations’ highest court – the International Court of Justice (ICJ) - ordered Azerbaijan on February 22 to “take all steps at its disposal” to ensure unimpeded movement of persons, vehicles and cargo along the Lachin Corridor in both directions. Azerbaijan has so far ignored the order. Furthermore, Azerbaijan then illegally installed a checkpoint on Lachin Corridor in violation of the terms of the 2020 ceasefire statement.