Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Armenia, Azerbaijan leaders say committed to Karabakh deals

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Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliyev assured European Council President Charles Michel that they are committed to implementation of agreements on Nagorno-Karabakh, reached with Russia’s mediation.

“Prime Minister Pashinyan and President Aliyev reconfirmed that key commitments undertaken in the framework of the two trilateral statements of 9 November 2020 and 11 January 2021 would be honored and that understandings reached in Sochi on 26 November 2021 should be built upon,” Michel said in a statement, released in Brussels after the trilateral talks.

“President Michel stressed that resolving key humanitarian issues is of crucial importance. He welcomed the recent release of ten Armenian detainees by Azerbaijan and the handover of all remaining mine-maps by Armenia. He called for the full and speedy resolution of all outstanding humanitarian issues, such as the release of further detainees and addressing the fate of missing persons, while recognizing that humanitarian gestures by both sides also promote confidence and help create an environment conducive to progress towards peace and reconciliation,” the document reads.

Besides, according to Michel, “the EU will continue to support humanitarian de-mining efforts, including by providing expert advice, and assistance to conflict-affected populations, rehabilitation and reconstruction.”

“The EU will also continue to support confidence building measures between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” he added.

“The leaders discussed key existing and prospective trade and economic partnerships between the EU and both countries. They also discussed the EU’s intention to launch an economic advisory platform to build confidence, contribute to peaceful coexistence and build up economic cooperation in the region,” according to the statement.

Intense clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia flared up on September 27, 2020, in Nagorno-Karabakh. On November 9, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Aliyev and Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a complete ceasefire in the conflict zone, which facilitated a complete cessation of hostilities. According to the deal, the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides maintained the positions that they had held. In addition, several regions came under Baku’s control and Russian peacekeepers were deployed to the region.

On January 11, during a meeting in Moscow, the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan made a decision to create a working group consisting of the deputy prime ministers from the three countries that would focus on establishing transportation and economic links in Nagorno-Karabakh.

On November 26, the trilateral negotiations between Putin, Aliyev and Pashinyan marking the first anniversary of the signing of a joint statement on a complete ceasefire and all military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh on November 9, 2020, took place in Sochi. They became the first face-to-face trilateral contract among the countries’ leaders since January this year and lasted for about three hours. Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the talks as productive and constructive and hoped for compliance with the agreements.

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