On the Karabakh talks: "They did not come to a common denominator at the highest level"
The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan are set to meet in Washington, D.C. next week, according to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. During a government meeting on June 22, Pashinyan stated that the Armenian delegation intends to normalize relations and sign a peace treaty soon.
Originally scheduled for June 12, the meeting of the foreign ministers was postponed. Previous negotiations in Washington from May 1 to May 4 yielded some progress but did not resolve all contentious issues.
However, Azerbaijan does not hold much optimism for the upcoming meeting. Hikmat Babaoglu, a deputy from the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP), told Turan that Armenian diplomacy has recently reverted to a conflict-oriented approach.
Babaoglu characterized this approach as an attempt to buy time, strengthen Armenia's position, and achieve military advantages before negotiations. He emphasized that while positive statements are made by Pashinyan and his political team before meetings, subsequent outcomes have shown no tangible results.
Babaoglu noted that Armenia is currently recruiting military specialists for its reserve forces. He expressed skepticism about Armenia taking positive steps unless concrete results are achieved. Babaoglu further argued that even if a peace treaty is signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan, it would likely come with conditions. He questioned whether Armenia would faithfully adhere to such a treaty, considering the ongoing disputes over the fulfillment of obligations outlined in the trilateral statement, specifically referring to paragraphs 4 and 9. These paragraphs pertain to the deployment of Russian peacekeeping forces and the security of Armenia's transport links between Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan.
The head of the Institute of Political Management Azer Gasimli, in an interview with RadioAzadlig, also noted that significant changes in relations between the two countries have not occurred. While some specific details are discussed during the meetings, the main focus revolves around the security of Armenians in Karabakh and potential replacements for Russian forces, should they withdraw. Gasimli suggested that a UN peacekeeping mission with Azerbaijani participation may be among the options under consideration.
Gasimli emphasized that negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan predominantly occur at the highest levels, indicating a lack of consensus. He anticipated a prolonged process, particularly if Russia is not compelled to withdraw from Karabakh due to its involvement in the conflict in Ukraine. Gasimli projected that the process could extend until at least 2025.