Next Meeting in Washington: Peace in Sight? - OpEd
By Naghi Ahmadov
The next round of discussions on the process of normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan at the level of foreign ministers is planned in June in Washington, the capital of the United States. It is expected that the issues regarding the process of normalization and establishment of peace and interstate relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, including delimitation and demarcation, the opening of communications, border security, and other issues will be discussed at the meeting.
It should be pointed out that in 2021, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev declared that Azerbaijan was ready to sign a peace treaty with Armenia. In March 2022, Baku delivered its five-point proposal to Yerevan regarding the normalization of relations. Since then, taking these principles into account as the main basis several rounds of negotiations have been held between the sides at various levels and platforms.
As may be recalled that at the beginning of May, the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov, held a series of meetings in Washington. After four days of negotiations, the foreign ministries of the two countries noted that the positions of the parties remained different on a number of key issues. However, after the talks, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the parties have made significant progress towards reaching a lasting peace agreement, although he did not disclose the details.
Another meeting between Mirzoyan and Bayramov was held on May 19 in Moscow, where the parties continued to work on the draft agreement on the establishment of peace and normalization of interstate relations.
Moreover, on May 14, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, and European Council President Charles Michel met in Brussels. After the tripartite meeting, Charles Michel declared that Azerbaijan and Armenia reaffirmed their commitment to the UN Charter and the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1991, through which both sides recognize each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. They confirmed that this will serve as the basis for the work of the commissions on delimitation, which implies the recognition of the territorial integrity of 29.8 thousand square kilometers of Armenia and 86.6 thousand square kilometers of Azerbaijan.
Nevertheless, it cannot be excluded that as a result of internal and external pressures, the Armenian side will once again try to make diplomatic maneuvers to avoid the negotiation process mediated by the United States and the European Union. If this happens, we will once again miss the historic chance to resolve the conflict. It is not a secret that there are parties in and out of Armenia that do not warmly welcome to sign a peace agreement through the mediation of Washington. However, there is a clear picture here that the continuation of the conflict in any form means that in the near future, PM Pashinyan will experience again the fate of his political predecessors.
In general, although there is no anticipation about the final result in the direction of signing a peace agreement between the parties in the next round of negotiations scheduled to be held in Washington in the next few days, the meeting as a whole is expected to pass in a positive mood and bring the positions of the parties closer.
In summary, direct dialogue is the key to resolving issues and achieving a stable and dignified peace. In this regard, the continuation of the dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan on various platforms is a very important factor for achieving the common goal - the signing of a peace treaty. It can be hoped that sooner or later, all parties will realize the urgent need to sign a peace treaty, and as a result, peace will prevail in the entire region in the near future. Of course, there is a long way to go and everyone should work hard in this direction.
Naghi Ahmadov, a senior fellow at the Center of Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center), exclusively for News.Az