Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry reported that Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov discussed with Lavrov the results of the latest Armenian-Azerbaijani summit hosted by the European Union’s top official. It said they also spoke about the implementation of Russian-brokered agreements to establish transport links between Armenia and Azerbaijan and to demarcate their border.
The same issues were also on the agenda of Lavrov’s call with Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan. According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, they discussed, in particular, the formation of an Armenian-Azerbaijani commission on the border demarcation.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev set up on Monday two such commissions comprising senior Armenian and Azerbaijani officials respectively.
Speaking after Pashinian’s and Aliyev’s five-hour talks in Brussels, European Council President Charles Michel said overnight that the commissions will hold their first meeting at an unspecified section of the frontier “in the coming days.” Michel said the two leaders also agreed on the “principles” of cross-border cargo shipments and other traffic.
Russia brokered similar understandings between Armenia and Azerbaijan after helping to stop a six-week war in Nagorno-Karabakh in November 2020. Moscow accused the EU and the United States of trying to hijack its peace efforts following the previous Aliyev-Pashinian encounter hosted by Michel on April 6.
According to official Russian readouts of Lavrov’s phone calls, Mirzoyan and Bayramov reaffirmed their governments’ declared commitments to fully implementing the Russian-brokered agreements. Lavrov had already received such assurances from them at a trilateral meeting in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe on May 12.
The top Russian diplomat was also reported to discuss with them “a number of further joint steps” on the border demarcation, the opening of Armenian-Azerbaijani transport links as well as planned negotiations on an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty.
It remains unclear whether the conflicting sides are planning to restart the work of a Russian-Armenian-Azerbaijani task force dealing with economic and transport issues. Mirzoyan indicated in Dushanbe that it will meet in Moscow on May 16 after a nearly five-month hiatus. The meeting did not take place, however.
It also remains to be seen whether Russian officials will be involved in the demarcation process in an advisory capacity.