“I have confirmed my participation [in the trilateral meeting,]” Pashinian told the Armenian parliament. “Frankly, I don’t know whether or not the Azerbaijani side has also confirmed its participation.”
Putin offered to organize a trilateral meeting with Pashinian and Aliyev when he addressed on October 14 a summit of ex-Soviet states in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. The Russian daily Vedomosti reported on Monday that it could take place in Moscow or Sochi before the end of this month.
Earlier on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to confirm the date and venue of the summit.
“Such a trilateral meeting is being prepared,” Russian news agencies quoted Peskov as saying. “We hope that it will take place.”
Putin last met with Aliyev and Pashinian in a trilateral format in November 2021. The Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders have held five more face-to-face meetings since then. All of them were organized by the European Union.
The EU as well as the United States further intensified their peace efforts following last month’s deadly fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. Russia has been very critical of those efforts, saying that the West is using the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in its standoff with Moscow over Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry charged on Monday that the U.S. and the EU are seeking to promote themselves and “squeeze Russia out of the Transcaucasus,” rather than broker a “balanced” solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute.
“There is nothing self-promotional about seeking to put an end to years of conflict and to years of flare-ups that have led to violence and ultimately to deaths, both on the part of Armenians and the citizens of Azerbaijan,” Ned Price, the U.S. State Department spokesman, countered on Tuesday.
Price questioned Moscow’s ability and desire to act as an honest broker between Baku and Yerevan.
“It’s ultimately for Armenia and for Azerbaijan to decide whether President Putin’s invitation would be helpful or useful to them in pursuit of that lasting peace,” he told a daily news briefing in Washington. “Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia and its ongoing brutal invasion of Ukraine suggests that Moscow has little respect for its neighbors’ sovereignty and is hardly a reliable, long-term partner.”
Pashinian said that he is planning to discuss with Aliyev and Putin “many outstanding issues regarding which some questions must be raised.” In particular, he said, he will bring up Azerbaijan’s “September 13 military aggression” against Armenia and Russia’s failure to prevent it.
At their most recent meeting held in Prague on October 6, Aliyev and Pashinian appeared to have made major progress towards signing an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty backed by the Western powers.
Pashinian said on Wednesday that he hopes the two sides will sign the treaty and delimit their border before the end of this year.
“I and my government will do our best to make that realistic,” he said during the government’s question-and-answer session in the National Assembly.
Armen Grigorian, the secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, discussed the matter with Aliyev’s chief foreign policy aide in Washington on September 27 during talks hosted by U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. The latter said they “identified concrete steps forward in support of a stable and lasting peace.”
Gegham Manukian, a senior member of Armenia’s leading opposition group, claimed on Tuesday that Pashinian is intent on signing a U.S.-drafted accord that would require Armenia to recognize Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan.
Parliament speake Alen Simonian, who is a key political ally of Pashinian, insisted in this regard that no concrete “document” is being discussed in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks.
“There are hundreds of proposals, variants, opinions, but no document is on the table,” said the Armenian speaker.
Simonian also said that the signing of the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal this year is not a forgone conclusion.