Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders order their foreign ministers to begin preparation of a future peace treaty.
Armenia and Azerbaijan are preparing for peace talks, their officials said Thursday, following a recent flare-up in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met in Brussels on Wednesday to weird conversations mediated by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel.
The meeting came after an outbreak in Nagorno-Karabakh on March 25 that reportedly saw Azerbaijan capture a strategic village in the area under the responsibility of Russian peacekeepers, killing three Armenian separatist soldiers.
During the meeting, the two leaders “instructed the foreign ministers to start preparatory work for peace talks between the two countries,” the Foreign Ministry in Yerevan said in a statement.
“An agreement was reached during the meeting… to establish a bilateral commission on Armenian-Azerbaijani border delimitation issues, which will be in charge of ensuring security and stability along the border,” he said. the ministry.
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry also said that work was underway to start peace talks, adding that the future peace treaty would be based “on the basic principles previously proposed by Azerbaijan.”
The European Union said that Michel “took note of the stated desire of President Aliyev and Prime Minister Pashinyan to move quickly towards a peace agreement between their countries.”
“To this end, it was agreed to instruct the foreign ministers to work on the preparation of a future peace treaty, which would address all the necessary issues,” he said in a statement.
Violation of the ceasefire
After the March incident, Moscow and Yerevan accused Azerbaijan of violating the ceasefire, a charge that Baku has denied, insisting that its troops are on sovereign Azerbaijani territory.
Yerevan also called on Baku to start peace talks “without delay”. Baku agreed, saying that he had already submitted such a proposal a year ago.
Baku presented in mid-March its set of framework proposals for the peace agreement that includes mutual recognition of the territorial integrity of both parties, which means that Yerevan should agree to make Nagorno-Karabakh part of Azerbaijan.
Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan sparked controversy at home when he said, commenting on Azerbaijan’s proposal, that for Yerevan “the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not a territorial issue, but a rights issue” of the local ethnic Armenian population.
Long disputed between neighbors in the Caucasus, Nagorno-Karabakh was at the center of an all-out war in 2020 that killed more than 6,500 people before it ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire deal.
The pact saw Armenia give up swaths of territory it had controlled for decades in what was seen in Armenia as a national humiliation, sparking weeks of mass anti-government protests.
On Tuesday, several thousand opposition supporters demonstrated in Yerevan to warn the government against concessions in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Subsequent conflicts killed an estimated 30,000 people.