Armen Grigorian, the secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, said late on Wednesday that the two sides reached such understandings during high-level peace talks that followed last month’s large-scale fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
The United States and the European Union brought together the leaders of the two South Caucasus arch-foes, their foreign ministers and other senior officials.
This included a September 27 meeting between Grigorian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s chief foreign policy aide hosted by U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Washington. Sullivan said after the meeting that its participants “identified concrete steps forward in support of a stable and lasting peace.”
Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian inched closer to the peace treaty at their October 6 meeting in Prague with French President Emmanuel Macron and the EU’s top official, Charles Michel. Aliyev expressed hope afterwards that the deal will be signed by the end of the year.
Grigorian cited the same time frame in an interview with Armenian Public Television.
“The delimitation and the peace treaty are interconnected,” he said. “I’ll tell you why this is the case. Armenia remains concerned that after the peace treaty Azerbaijan could use the non-delimited border as an excuse for attacking Armenia again.”
Yerevan insists on Azerbaijani recognition of Armenia’s internationally recognized borders, he said. For its part, Armenia will recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, added the official.
Grigorian also confirmed that the treaty will make no reference to Nagorno-Karabakh. Pashinian has said in this regard that it will be up to Baku and the Karabakh Armenians to negotiate on the territory’s status. Aliyev has repeatedly ruled out agreeing to any such status.
Armenia’s leading opposition groups have condemned Pashinian’s stance, saying that he is helping Baku restore full control over Karabakh in hopes of clinging to power.
The planned peace deal has also prompted serious concern from Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian leaders. Arayik Harutiunian, the Karabakh president, discussed the matter with Pashinian in Yerevan on Wednesday. No details of their meeting were made public.
Pashinian sparked weeks of antigovernment protests in May after declaring that the international community is pressing Armenia to “lower the bar” on Karabakh’s future status and signaling his readiness to do that.