Collage: Putin, Aliyev and Pashinyan

Collage: Putin, Aliyev and Pashinyan

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov disclosed on January 18 that Azerbaijan is prepared to finalize a peace agreement with Armenia under the auspices of Russia. Lavrov, during his annual press conference, highlighted the Western powers as a primary impediment to achieving an accord between Baku and Yerevan through Moscow's mediation.

Azerbaijan has signaled its support for direct negotiations with Armenia, extending an offer in that regard. However, the response from Yerevan remains uncertain. Previously, Baku rejected two meetings brokered by the European Union, accusing some mediator countries, especially France, of exhibiting a biased stance in favor of Armenia. The accusations were contested by officials from the implicated countries.

While Lavrov's statement has yet to receive a response from Azerbaijan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MP Asim Mollazade suggested that Lavrov often articulates politically motivated statements Mollazade, in an interview with Turan, stressed that the place of signing the peace agreement does not matter to Azerbaijan, which offered to sign the border agreement. He asserted that Armenia, citing fears of opposition, diaspora, and Russia, employs various falsehoods to avoid committing to an agreement.

Mollazade highlighted Azerbaijan's pursuit of normal relations with all neighbors based on mutual interests, dispelling the need for new "Big Brothers." In contrast, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan expressed hope on January 17 that Azerbaijan remains dedicated to peace, while acknowledging the complexities surrounding the peace agenda.

Experts analyze President Ilham Aliyev's statements as contradictory, emphasizing reliance on Russia for mediation despite prior calls for bilateral negotiations. Azer Gasimli, head of the Institute of Political Management, outlined two pre-existing obligations – the permanent deployment of the Russian military in Azerbaijan and Russian control over the "Zangazur corridor." In an interview with Radio Azadlig, he claimed that Armenia opposes the latter obligation, turning it into a subject of dispute.

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