They met for the latest two-day session of a trilateral working group set up by the Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian governments in January. It has been discussing practical modalities of opening the Armenian-Azerbaijani border for commercial traffic in line with the Russian-brokered ceasefire that stopped the war in Nagorno-Karabakh last November.
A source privy to the talks told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that Yerevan and Baku have still not reached an agreement on the key issues on the agenda of the task force co-headed by deputy prime ministers of the three states. Their discussions are focused on legal aspects of opening Armenian-Azerbaijani transport links, said the source.
Speaking to reporters in Yerevan on Tuesday, Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigorian said the two sides have made progress towards restoring their Soviet-era rail links. But he did not elaborate.
The ceasefire agreement specifically commits Armenia to opening rail and road links between Azerbaijan and its Nakhichevan exclave. Armenia should be able, for its part, to use Azerbaijani territory as a transit route for cargo shipments to and from Russia and Iran.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly claimed that the deal envisages a permanent land “corridor” that will connect Nakhichevan to the rest of Azerbaijan via Armenia’s Syunik province. He has threatened to forcibly open such a corridor if Yerevan continues to oppose its creation.
Armenian leaders have denounced Aliyev’s threats as territorial claims, saying that the truce accord only calls for transport links between the two South Caucasus states.
Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk insisted last month that the trilateral group has not discussed possible transport corridors.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov spoke on Wednesday of “positive messages” coming from Yerevan of late. Bayramov did not specify those messages. He said only that Baku hopes that they will translate into “concrete results” soon.