First meeting between the heads of state of Azerbaijan and Armenia since the end of the war

This is a first since the end of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh two months ago. After several weeks of speculation, the Kremlin confirmed on Sunday January 10 that a meeting ” on the initiative of Vladimir Putin Will take place on Monday in Moscow between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pachinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

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These trilateral negotiations come at a time when tensions, far from having subsided, remain high between Armenia and Azerbaijan. They will relate firstly to the implementation of the joint declaration of the three leaders which ended the war on November 9, 2020. Prior to further negotiations, it recorded the victory of Azerbaijan over the forces of the United Kingdom. ‘Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh [entité politique arménienne non reconnue du Haut-Karabakh] after 44 days of fighting.

This nine-point agreement framed, in addition to the cessation of fighting, the surrender by Armenia of a number of regions, the deployment of a Russian peacekeeping contingent, the exchange of bodies and prisoners, and the return of refugees. In its press release, the Russian Presidency announces that ” particular attention “ will be given to assistance to areas affected by hostilities, but also to the unblocking and development of transport and economic links in the region.

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This last question, the subject of the ninth point of the November agreement, promises to spark lively debate. The construction of a land corridor to connect the Azerbaijani region of Nakhichevan to the rest of Azerbaijan, via southern Armenia, particularly worries Yerevan, which fears losing control of the area concerned.

The negotiations will also aim to deepen the framework laid down by the declaration of 9 November, the shortcomings of which have been pointed out by many observers. Greatly absent, the question of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, a region populated mainly by Armenians, but recognized by the international community as part of Azerbaijan, remains the condition. sine qua non peaceful resolution of the conflict.

However, it risks escaping an agreement, as the participants have little immediate interest in leaving the the state. Finally, the Kremlin specifies that separate meetings between Vladimir Poutine with each of the two leaders are envisaged. A device that allows the Russian president to once again stage his capital role in the resolution of this conflict.

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