Nikol Pashinyan

Nikol Pashinyan

The longstanding negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia over a peace treaty have reached a critical juncture, with both sides reportedly agreeing on the basic principles, leaving only some issues unresolved. This sentiment was echoed after the meeting of the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Almaty on May 10, where the ministers "welcomed the progress on delimitation and the agreements reached in this regard."

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan reaffirmed this progress on May 29, stating that "the basic principles have been agreed, the details have remained." However, the specific points of agreement and contention have not been disclosed to the public.

Hikmet Babaoglu, Deputy Chairman of the Milli Majlis Committee on Defense, Security, and Fight against Corruption, in an interview with Turan, pointed to external influences and internal radical groups as major obstacles to signing the peace treaty. "Pashinyan is currently trying to get rid of the internal factor by making the last attempt on the church to eliminate the factor of the church and radicals. Pashinyan wants to build a state, and the church does not want to miss it because it has always performed the function of replacing the state in Armenia. I think this will be the reward of the righteous," Babaoglu said.

Babaoglu emphasized the strategic importance of the Zangezur corridor, a proposed transit route through Armenia's Sunik region, which has attracted interest from global powers including Russia, the USA, Iran, and France. He suggested that signing the peace treaty before the UN Climate Conference (COP29) in Baku this November would allow Azerbaijan and Armenia to bypass the influence of these external forces.

Elkhan Shahinoglu, head of the Atlas Research Center, noted in an interview with Radio Azadlig significant progress in reaching a peace agreement. "No incidents have been recorded at the border in recent months. At the same time, in December, the prisoners were exchanged, and part of the border was determined. The text of the peace agreement also contains a point about the recognition of the territorial integrity of each other by the two countries. These are positive moments," Shahinoglu stated.

However, Shahinoglu also highlighted key obstacles, particularly the Armenian insistence on including the 1991 Almaty Declaration in the peace agreement, which Azerbaijan resists. There is also ongoing disagreement over the status of the Zangezur corridor. Despite these challenges, Shahinoglu believes the parties have achieved 90 percent consensus.

Both Babaoglu and Shahinoglu agree that concluding the peace treaty by summer, before COP29, is critical. Shahinoglu warned of potential repercussions if the treaty is delayed: "Azerbaijan is interesting because radicals have risen against Pashinyan. Pashinyan is engaged in useful work for us and wants to strengthen peace-building. If Pashinyan is replaced by a radical, he will want to start negotiations from scratch, and Azerbaijan will not go to it. This can also lead to a new war," he cautioned.

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