YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am)—Brussels is looking for steps rather than just statements from Baku to show that Azerbaijan is ready for continuing negotiations with Armenia, a senior European Union diplomat has said.
Toivo Klaar, the EU’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia, talking to RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service on Monday, said that after the meeting in Granada, Spain, that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev decided not to attend “we have lost momentum.”
“We also hear statements from Baku. But to be frank, I think what we sense is that there are these statements, but what we are really looking for is steps, is the willingness to actually make the next steps,” Klaar said.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev were scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the EU’s October 5 summit in Granada, Spain, for talks mediated by French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and European Council President Charles Michel.
Pashinyan had hoped that they would sign there a document laying out the main parameters of an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty. However, Aliyev withdrew from the talks at the last minute.
Baku cited France’s allegedly “biased position” against Azerbaijan as the reason for skipping those talks in Spain.
The Azerbaijani leader also appears to have canceled another meeting which the EU’s Michel planned to host in Brussels in late October.
Most recently Azerbaijan refused to attend a meeting with Armenia at the level of foreign ministers in Washington after allegedly “one-sided and biased” remarks by a senior U.S. official made during a congressional hearing on Nagorno-Karabakh. That meeting had reportedly been scheduled to take place on November 20.
Over the weekend Azerbaijan said that it did not accept the mediation of the United States, but was ready to continue negotiations in the Brussels format. Brussels has said it is ready to organize a meeting as soon as possible, but there is still no progress in this matter.
Arman Yeghoyan, a member of the pro-government Civil Contract faction in the Armenian parliament, said he believed that in order to bring Azerbaijan to a constructive field, the mediators should “make coherent assessments of the parties’ steps and speak directly.”
“It is about giving up a little bit of that political correctness to speak directly and clearly. In my opinion, that’s what negotiations are all about, if we mean real negotiations and not just protocol meetings. In real negotiations there should be rhetoric expressing real intentions, including by mediators. If the mediators try to always be in the field of some kind of political correctness, it will make the negotiations more difficult and not easier,” Yeghoyan, who heads the Armenian parliament’s standing commission on European integration issues, said.
Along with skipping negotiations on Western platforms Baku declares that peace and security must be ensured by regional actors. Azerbaijan, in particular, suggests meeting in Tbilisi, Moscow, or negotiating directly, without mediators.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday also criticized the West for “failing to understand” that “a new era has begun in the region after the Karabakh war.”
“Those who have been provoking Armenia for years, seeking benefit for themselves from the sufferings of all people living in this geographic region, have actually caused the greatest harm to Armenia. Using the Armenians, they condemned them to distrust and gave them empty dreams that were impossible to fulfill. Armenia should see and accept these realities,” said the Turkish president, as quote by Azerbaijan’s AzerTac news agency.
“It would be more correct that the people and leaders of Armenia seek security not thousands of kilometers away, but in peace and cooperation with their neighbors. No amount of munitions sent by Western countries can replace the stability that will bring lasting peace,” he added, calling on Armenia “to shake the hand of peace extended by the Azerbaijanis.”
“I repeat that we, Turkey, are also ready to take necessary steps for the success of the process in cooperation with Azerbaijan,” Erdogan said.