Azerbaijan, Armenia towards next meeting to solve border conundrum
    Attempts to set conditions for “conditional border”

    ANALYTICS  21 July 2023 - 14:26

    Mushvig Mehdiyev

    While the negotiations for signing a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan are increasingly shifting the gear, thanks to largely the efforts by the latter, the sides are simultaneously pressing ahead with the meetings to untie the knots retarding the process of delimitation of the bilateral border.

    After fighting a bloody war in 2020, the two countries have been seeking to finalise the key issues on the post-war development of mutual ties, including the determination of state frontiers, over which Azerbaijan restored its sovereignty in the wake of the war. The authorities in Azerbaijan use the term “conditional border” for the borderline with Armenia due to the fact that there is no final mutual agreement on the parameters of the bilateral border.

    Border delimitation is one of the paramount tasks for the sides to pave the way for peace as soon as possible. Back in May 2022, Baku and Yerevan established their respective border delimitation commissions as a manifestation of reciprocity in aspirations for fetching a “happy end” to the protracted issue. Before that, Baku included the issue in the five basic principles it submitted to Yerevan in March 2021 to set the ground for the normalisation process.

    Since 2022, the commissions held four meetings including two on the border, one in Moscow, and one in Brussels. They have reportedly discussed the agreements achieved in various formats by the two countries’ leaders, as well as the issues pertaining to the border delimitation process, and certain administrative and procedural issues.   

    On July 21, officials at the commissions agreed to hold the next meeting at the intersection of the Azerbaijani border district of Gazakh and the Tavush region of Armenia on the border’s opposite side.

    “By mutual agreement of the parties, it was decided to hold meetings every time on different sections of the state border,” office of the Armenian Deputy Prime Minister, Mher Grigoryan, who heads Yerevan’s border delimitation commission, reported.

    There are hopes that the upcoming meeting of the commissions could end the draught of the previous talks by fetching a breakthrough.

    A significant portion of Azerbaijan’s state border with Armenia, measuring 1,007 kilometers in length, remained under Armenian occupation for nearly 30 years. The occupation began in the early 1990s when Azerbaijan’s Karabakh (Garabagh) and East Zangazur regions fell under illegal Armenian control.

    Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia launched a full-scale military campaign against Azerbaijan, resulting in the longest and deadliest war in the South Caucasus region. The war ended in a ceasefire in 1994, with Armenia forcibly occupying 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territories. This occupation led to the deaths of over 30,000 Azerbaijanis and the expulsion of one million others in a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign conducted by Armenia.

    On September 27, 2020, the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia escalated when Armenian forces in the occupied Azerbaijani lands shelled military positions and civilian settlements of Azerbaijan. In a counter-attack that lasted 44 days, Azerbaijani forces liberated over 300 settlements, including the cities of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha, effectively ending the nearly 30-year-long illegal Armenian occupation. The war concluded with a tripartite statement signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia on November 10, 2020. Under this statement, Armenia also returned the occupied districts of Aghdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin to Azerbaijan.

    Following Azerbaijan’s victory in the 2020 war, cartographic complications emerged along the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border. Azerbaijan regained control over a significant portion of the border, leading to the deployment of units from the Armed Forces and State Border Service in border regions, including Kalbajar and Lachin, to strengthen border protection.

    Since then, there have been frequent provocations against the Azerbaijani army by the Armenian military, including the bloody incidents in May and June of this year, leading to significant complications on the frontier.

    Baku has been urging for the immediate initiation of the delimitation and demarcation process to ease tensions with Yerevan.

    Maps for border delimitation

    There is a conundrum around a map or maps that should be used for the delimitation of the bilateral border between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Since the start of delimitation talks, no common approach has been seen regarding the selection of cartographic compilations to demarcate the frontiers.

    In April 2022, President Ilham Aliyev said there had been no database of maps.

    “Our position is that when determining the borders, history should be taken into account, and maps from the period after the Sovietization of the South Caucasus should be used. We should not focus on only one map, because there are many maps - there is a map of 1918, when Irevan (present-day Yerevan) was a part of Azerbaijan. There is a map of November 1920 that Zangazur (present-day Syunik) was a part of Azerbaijan at that time,” the Azerbaijani president said.

    According to him, Azerbaijanis lived also in the territories along the modern-day Iran-Armenia border and those lands had nothing to do with the Armenian people since it was the result of Zangazur’s incorporation by Armenia in 1920 upon the decision of the Soviet authorities.

    “We will use all maps - from 1918 and even earlier maps [developed by] the collapse of the Soviet Union,” Aliyev said, adding the joint working groups, i.e. border demarcation commissions would negotiate the issue.

    Regarding Armenia’s position on the maps, Yerevan has already picked a one to insist on. Armenia’s authorities have been calling to use a map from 1975 as a basis for the delimitation of borders with Azerbaijan. However, it does not sit well with the Azerbaijani government.

    Baku-based political analyst Gabil Huseynli says Armenia’s zeal for adopting the 1975 map should be traced in its intention to hide the illegal inclusion of the Azerbaijani lands into the borders of Armenia by the Soviet rulers. According to him, nearly 21,000 square kilometres of Azerbaijani territories have been ceded to Armenia by 1975.

    From the early 1920s to 1975, the Soviet authorities established illegal Armenian control over the Zangazur, Daralayaz, and Goycha provinces of Azerbaijan, as well as pastures surrounding the Lachin district and Garasu Lake. Moreover, in 1983, around 2,000 square kilometres of woodland in the Gazakh district were given to Armenians.

    From 1990 to 1992, Armenia also occupied the Karki village in Nakhchivan and seven villages of Gazakh on the border with Azerbaijan, brutally displacing over 7,000 people. These villages are currently under Armenian occupation. Part of them are inhabited by Armenians relocated post-occupation, while part remain in ruins.

    Unsteady pace of peace

    The Azerbaijan-Armenia peace negotiations, of which the border delimitation talks form part, are not steadily marching toward a positive conclusion. Multiple high-level meetings between the sides have not brought a significant breakthrough, excluding minor progress.

    Despite the efforts to achieve peace, the process suffered major setbacks due to Armenia’s demands, including so-called “rights and security” of nearly 25,000 Armenians living in the Karabakh region, in addition to avoiding fulfilling its obligations under the Trilateral Statement of November 10, 2020, such as the withdrawal of its armed formations from the Azerbaijani territories.

    President Aliyev has repeatedly said that the demands of the Armenian side would not be considered since Armenians living in the Karabakh region are the citizens of Azerbaijan and issues regarding their rights is Azerbaijan’s internal matter.


    Subscribe to our Telegram channel

Read also

Centuries-long resistance & modern-day terrorism in the North Caucasus Unending strife

24 June 2024 - 17:20

Georgia revives Anaklia project with China's help A watershed moment for the Caucasus?

24 June 2024 - 14:23

Armenia navigates geopolitical waters amid CSTO membership debate Moscow's grip tightens

24 June 2024 - 13:44

Armenia's truce violations amid rising tensions & strategic weapons deals with France Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it

23 June 2024 - 15:31

Steering through tangled web of conflict & peace between Azerbaijan & Armenia High time to do away with a vicious circle

23 June 2024 - 09:17

Armenia’s military build-up & western alignments risk renewed conflict Baku warns Yerevan

23 June 2024 - 11:39
Latest news

    Biden's China policy: Short-term toughness, long-term disasters

    25 June 2024 - 02:09

    Ukraine urgently seeks debt relief to fortify against Russian onslaught

    25 June 2024 - 00:06

    Evolving Sino-Russian relationship under Xi Jinping

    Navigating history and strategy

    24 June 2024 - 22:04

    Italian ambassador optimistic about Italy's G7 chairmanship & Azerbaijan's COP29 success

    24 June 2024 - 21:12

    France's arms sale to Armenia amid peace talks with Azerbaijan raises tensions - ex-US diplomat

    24 June 2024 - 20:59

    Türkiye, UN express condolences to Russia following Dagestani terror attacks

    24 June 2024 - 20:49

    Azerbaijan's AZAL wins Skytrax 2024 award for Best Regional Airline in Central Asia and CIS

    24 June 2024 - 20:33

    Derbent & Makhachkala terror attacks synchronized in timing & objectives - Dagestani head

    24 June 2024 - 20:17

    First day of Azerbaijani NGO cooperation forum concludes with visit to Gubadli

    24 June 2024 - 20:02

    Azerbaijani ambassador proposes opening Baku-Cairo flight

    24 June 2024 - 19:43

    AzVirt unveils new footage of 75.8 km Kalbajar-Lachin road construction

    24 June 2024 - 19:26

    Russian, Kazakh leaders discuss tackling terrorism

    24 June 2024 - 19:06

    Canadia prevents Iranian presidential elections from being held locally

    24 June 2024 - 18:53

    Putin pledges arms to North Korea in defiant move against NATO

    24 June 2024 - 18:39

    Turkish Armed Forces to soon receive Tayfun ballistic missiles


    24 June 2024 - 18:25

    EU imposes sanctions against Russian journalist

    24 June 2024 - 18:11

    Media: Ukraine hits four Russian ships with Sea Baby drones

    24 June 2024 - 17:58

    Gaza Strip death toll from Israeli attacks tops 37,000

    24 June 2024 - 17:45

    Azerbaijan's Central Bank, World Bank discuss new partnership strategy

    24 June 2024 - 17:33

    Centuries-long resistance & modern-day terrorism in the North Caucasus

    Unending strife

    24 June 2024 - 17:20

    Russia’s Medvedev predicts deterioration of relations with South Korea

    24 June 2024 - 17:20

    Armenian special forces' bold move

    Confiscation sparks political backlash

    24 June 2024 - 17:07

    Death toll from Dagestan terrorist attack rises to 20

    24 June 2024 - 16:59

    US, China, Russia lead hypersonic arms race amid global tensions

    Caliber.Az on YouTube

    24 June 2024 - 16:54

    Kremlin says Putin's peace proposal on Ukraine remains in force

    24 June 2024 - 16:54

    Türkiye conducts large-scale operation against ISIS


    24 June 2024 - 16:41

    ECOLEAD project memorandum signed in Khankendi


    24 June 2024 - 16:28

    EU's Klaar optimistic about imminent Azerbaijan-Armenia peace agreement

    24 June 2024 - 16:16

    Azerbaijan's task - to unite fragmented world on climate issues

    COP29's five priorities

    24 June 2024 - 16:04

    France's bid for influence in South Caucasus

    Macron's strategy unveiled  

    24 June 2024 - 15:52

    Israeli forces kills key Hamas weapons designer in airstrike


    24 June 2024 - 15:40

    ANAMA clears 946.3 ha of lands from mines & UXO in liberated territories

    24 June 2024 - 15:37

    Armenian pundit: Azerbaijan pursues pragmatic policy

    24 June 2024 - 15:24

    UN-Habitat rep discusses COP29 with Azerbaijani ambassador to Kenya

    24 June 2024 - 15:09

    EU develops mechanism to bypass Hungary's veto on arms for Ukraine

    24 June 2024 - 14:54

    MP highlights Azerbaijan's role in climate change efforts at Khankendi conference

    24 June 2024 - 14:38

    Georgia revives Anaklia project with China's help

    A watershed moment for the Caucasus?

    24 June 2024 - 14:23

    US, South Korea, Japan condemn North Korea-Russia deepening military cooperation

    24 June 2024 - 14:10

    Fire breaks out at lithium battery factory in South Korea

    Dozens died

    24 June 2024 - 13:58

    Armenia navigates geopolitical waters amid CSTO membership debate

    Moscow's grip tightens

    24 June 2024 - 13:44

All news