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Armenian, Azeri FMs Hold Fresh Talks


Switzerland - Foreign Ministers Ararat Mirzoyan of Armenia and Jeyhun Bayramov of Azerbaijan meet in Geneva, October 2, 2022.

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan met late on Sunday for a second time after last month’s large-scale fighting on the border between their countries.

The direct talks held in Geneva appeared to focus on an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty sought by Baku. Neither side reported concrete agreements on this issue.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov “brought the Armenian side’s attention” to five key elements which Baku wants to be at the heart of the peace accord. They include a mutual recognition of each other’s territorial integrity, something which would presumably uphold Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian insisted on Friday that despite championing the territorial integrity of states Azerbaijan remains reluctant to recognize Armenia’s current borders. He said at the same time that the Geneva meeting will mark the start of substantive negotiations on the peace treaty.

According to the Armenian readout of the meeting, Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan also spoke with Bayramov about “ensuring the rights and security guarantees of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenians, including through the creation of a mechanism for discussions between Baku and Stepanakert.”

Mirzoyan also demanded the withdrawal of Azerbaijani forces from Armenian border areas occupied during the September 13-14 hostilities and last year.

Bayramov claimed, for his part, that Armenia has failed to fully pull its troops out of Karabakh in breach of the Russian-brokered ceasefire that stopped the 2020 Armenian-Azerbaijani war. Yerevan maintains that no Armenian soldiers remain deployed there.

Citing lingering tensions at various sections of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, Bayramov was also reported to propose that the next meeting of a bilateral commission on border demarcation be brought forward from November to October.

Bayramov further called for a prompt launch of transport links between the two South Caucasus states, which is also envisaged by the 2020 ceasefire and follow-up agreements brokered by Moscow.

Yerevan regularly voices support for opening the Armenian-Azerbaijani border to commercial and passenger traffic. But it has rejected apparent Azerbaijani demands for an exterritorial corridor connecting Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave through Armenian territory.

The Armenian statement on the Geneva talks spoke of “mutual understanding on unblocking regional transport routes under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the countries.” It did not elaborate.

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