As Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan are preparing to meet in Brussels on May 14, Yerevan said that there has been no progress on some of the most crucial issues in its talks with Baku.
This assessment comes a week after Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers, Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhum Bayramov, held marathon talks in Washington initiated by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. They emerged from those meetings saying “lingering differences” remained between the two countries. Pashinyan said last week that Karabakh was at the center of the differences.
Armenia’s National Security chief Armen Grigoryan told reporters on Tuesday that significant progress has not been made on key issues in Yerevan’s talks with Baku.
“It is the acknowledgement of the sovereign 29,800 square kilometers of the Republic of Armenia, the creation of international mechanism for normalization between Stepanakert and Baku, as well as the need for international guarantees,” Grigoryan explained were the issues still pending in the talks with Azerbaijan.
“We have stated many times our approach regarding Artsakh, that international mechanisms should be created, Stepanakert and Baku should discuss rights and security issues,” Grigoryan said.
He added that even the provisions of the November 9, 2020 agreement were not being implemented.
“For example, according to the tripartite statement, Azerbaijan should not be present in the Lachin corridor, but it is present at the moment. It is very important for us to have an institution of international guarantors with which we will resolve such issues,” Grigoryan added.
He explained that the current talks were being held between Armenia and Azerbaijan and mediators, such as the U.S. and the European Union, were providing assistance to ensure progress in the talks.
Charles Michel, the European Council President, confirmed Monday that Pashinyan and Aliyev will meet in Brussels on May 14, the first meeting between the two leaders since another Michel-mediated talks in Munich in February.
The U.S. welcomed the upcoming talks and continued its upbeat rhetoric peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan being “within reach.”
“Last week’s discussions were constructive, and we believe that the delegations from Armenia and Azerbaijan made significant progress in addressing difficult issues,” State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said Monday during a press briefing.
“Both countries, as you know, agreed in principle to certain terms and have a better understanding of each other’s points of views. And we believe that with additional goodwill and flexibility and compromise, that an agreement is within reach,” Patel said, adding that the U.S. will continue to provide full support and engagement “as the two countries continue to engage in dialogue and continue to secure a durable and sustainable peace.”
“For Armenia, it makes no difference where these negotiations take place. At the moment, we have not been successful in making progress in anywhere,” Grigoryan, Armenia’s security chief, told reporters on Tuesday in response to a question of whether Yerevan favors talks mediated by the West or by Russia or whether they had made proposals that are in line with Armenia’s priorities.
Grigoryan also stressed that there is not decision on where an agreement will be signed, pointing out that Yerevan will sign a document when there is “an opportunity to make progress and reach a final agreement.”