“Unfortunately, the parties are still far apart on many issues,” Mirzoyan told the Armenian parliament. “But the whole point of negotiations is to find common ground between differing positions of the parties, arrive at a common conclusion and get a result.”
“Negotiations are going on right now. Some things are mutually not acceptable but there are also other things where the parties can take steps towards each other,” he said without elaborating.
“I’m not sure that we will manage to have a more or less final variant of the treaty before the end of the year,” Mirzoyan added during the Armenian government’s question-and-answer session in the National Assembly.
The Armenian and Azerbaijani governments have recently exchanged fresh (and unpublicized) proposals regarding the treaty. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said on Monday that Baku continues to insist that the peace accord be based on key elements which it presented to Yerevan in March this year.
Those elements include mutual recognition of each other’s territorial integrity. This would presumably mean Armenian recognition of Azerbaijani sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.
“I presume that we will have another meeting [of the foreign ministers] before the end of the year,” Mirzoyan said, adding that there are no plans yet for similar talks in December between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said earlier on Wednesday that Aliyev and Pashinian could met in Saint Petersburg at the end of this month on the sidelines of a summit of ex-Soviet states.
On Tuesday, Moscow hosted a fresh session of a Russian-Armenian-Azerbaijani task force working on practical modalities of restoring transport links between Armenia and Azerbaijan. An Armenian government statement on the meeting indicated that it focused on a planned railway that will connect Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave through Armenia’s Syunik province. It gave no details.
“Unfortunately, I can’t say that we have any concrete results yet,” Pashinian told the parliament on Wednesday, commenting on the meeting.
Pashinian said that Yerevan is committed to building “as soon as possible” the 45-kilometer railway link estimated cost about $200 million. But that, he said, is contingent on an Armenian-Azerbaijani agreement regulating the terms of mutual transit links.
Aliyev has repeatedly demanded an exterritorial “corridor” for Nakhichevan that would exempt travellers and cargo from Armenian border controls. Yerevan has rejected these demands, saying that they run counter to Russian-brokered agreements between the two sides.