Moscow offers to facilitate Armenia-Azerbaijan border demarcation
President Vladimir Putin of Russia urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to resolve the current border standoff exclusively through diplomatic efforts, while Azerbaijan failed to attend talks scheduled for Wednesday to negotiate a resolution.
After negotiations stalled over the weekend to address Azerbaijan’s breach of Armenia’s sovereign border, new round of talks were scheduled to resume Wednesday, but were halted due to Azerbaijan’s absence.
In announcing Azerbaijan’s absence, Armenia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that Armeni still hopes for a negotiated solution to the dispute. It again warned that if this does not happen “within a reasonable timeframe” Yerevan will reserve the right to remove the Azerbaijani troops from Armenian territory by force.
Putin telephoned Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and Armenia’s Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan urging the two leaders to resolve the current standoff exclusively through diplomacy, while, once again, stressing “the need to solve issues aimed at ensuring security and stability in the region in line with the November 9, 2020 and January 11, 2021 statements.”
Pashinyan told Putin that “Azerbaijani forces, against all international norms, have violated the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia.”
Putin told Aliyev that Russia is ready to facilitate the border demarcation process, a sentiment echoed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who on Wednesday said that Moscow has proposed that the two sides set up a commission on the delimitation and demarcation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and expressed readiness to participate in its activities as a “consultant or mediator.”
“The Russian side will continue its mediation efforts and consultative support aimed at achieving an agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the launch of a process of delimitation and demarcation of their state border,” the Kremlin said in a readout of Putin-Aliyev call.
In confirming the Russian proposal, the head of Armenia’s National Security Council Armen Grigoryan said that Azerbaijan needed to withdraw its troops from Armenia’s sovereign territory before any demarcation talks.
“The Armenian side has stressed the need for the withdrawal of Azerbaijani forces from Armenia’s sovereign territory before the launch of such work,” Grigoryan told Armenpress. “Only after that would conditions be created for such discussions.”
Speaking ahead of a CSTO foreign ministers’ council in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Lavrov downplayed the seriousness of the border standoff, saying that he didn’t sees the need to “whip up emotions on this issue.”