Aliqmedia.am said that Russian President Vladimir Putin will host on November 9 fresh talks between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev that will be timed to coincide with the first anniversary of a Russian-brokered deal that stopped the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Citing unnamed Armenian diplomatic sources, the publication claimed that Aliyev and Pashinian will sign two agreements envisaging the demarcation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and the opening of transport links between the two South Caucasus states. It said one of those documents will also commit Baku and Yerevan to recognizing each other’s territorial integrity.
The Russian news agency RIA Novosti likewise reported afterwards that Aliyev and Pashinian could meet in Moscow in early November. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not confirm that report. He said that the Kremlin will make an official statement on the Armenian-Azerbaijani summit if an agreement on its date and agenda is reached by the sides.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Vahan Hunanian, said, for his part, that “for the time being no meeting between the prime minister of Armenia and the president of Azerbaijan is planned.”
“There are proposals for various meetings in different formats, which are being discussed,” Hunanian said in written comments posted on Facebook.
“I would also like to underline that the ‘news’ spread on this topic by some circles are clearly of provocative nature and do not correspond to reality,” added the official.
Hunanian stressed at the same time that Yerevan is committed to starting work on border demarcation and reopening the Armenian-Azerbaijani frontier for cargo traffic in line with the ceasefire deal brokered by Putin.
Pashinian did not comment on the issue on Monday when he visited the Armenian parliament to present his government’s draft budget for next year to lawmakers. He declined to answer questions from them or talk to reporters.
Deputies representing the ruling Civil Contract party either claimed to be unaware of any planned deals with Baku or did not want to comment on such a possibility.
“I am waiting to see the content of a document that will be presented to us by our government,” said Hrachya Hakobian, who is also Pashinian’s brother-in-law. “I don’t want to comment now on what foreign media outlets report.”
The reports prompted serious concerns from Armenian opposition leaders and other critics of Pashinian. They renewed their allegations that Pashinian is planning to make more territorial concessions to Baku and recognize Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh.
Artsvik Minasian, a senior lawmaker from the main opposition Hayastan alliance, said it will try to scuttle such concessions.
“Even if a negotiating process is underway, it must be public or at least the main political and publics actors must be involved in it,” Minasian told a news conference. “The authorities cannot carry with their secretive stance.”
Another senior Hayastan representative, Ishkhan Saghatelian, announced late last week that the bloc led by former President Robert Kocharian will soon hold a rally in Yerevan to try to prevent a “new capitulation agreement.”
Putin already hosted a trilateral meeting with Aliyev and Pashinian in January. The three leaders decided at the time to set up a Russian-Armenian-Azerbaijani commission tasked with working out practical modalities of establishing the transport links.
The commission most recently met in the Russian capital on October 20. Ahead of that meeting, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov spoke of “positive” signals coming from Yerevan. Bayramov expressed hope that they will translate into “concrete results” soon.