All eyes on November 2024: Baku, Yerevan on verge of historic peace deal
    Nations poised to reconcile without mediators

    ANALYTICS  15 May 2024 - 10:33

    Matanat Nasibova
    Caliber.Az

    After the two-day talks held on May 10-11 between the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Kazakhstan, the Armenian side expressed optimism regarding a peaceful settlement. Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, during a joint press conference with the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Malta Jan Borg, characterized the discussions with Azerbaijan at the ministerial level in Almaty as constructive. Mirzoyan emphasized that the process continues based on the reiterated principles, highlighting that signing a peace treaty could bring an end to the enduring conflict and establish an enduring peace in the region.

    Additionally, the Armenian side proposed expanding beyond the signing of a peace treaty to unblock all transport communications in the region. Mirzoyan stated, "We can go further - unblock all transport communications in the region," underscoring Armenia's commitment to peace and constructive engagement in the negotiation process.

    The positive rhetoric of the Armenian side concerning the peace settlement has been well received by Azerbaijan, theoretically paving the way for Yerevan to reconsider its traditionally less constructive policy. The negotiations have indicated a consensus between the parties to continue deliberating the draft peace agreement and resolve the remaining issues that remain contentious.

    The recent talks in Almaty have raised hopes for a potential peace agreement between Baku and Yerevan before November 2024. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev expressed optimism in April about the possibility of reaching an agreement with Armenia before the COP29 climate change conference in Baku. He suggested that reaching an agreement on basic principles is realistic, and both sides should work towards this goal.

    "Reaching an agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia before COP29, at least on basic principles, seems quite realistic," President Ilham Aliyev said on April 23, speaking at an international forum on "COP29 and Green Vision for Azerbaijan" organised at ADA University. The head of state noted that reaching an agreement on basic principles is also considered an option. In the future, time can be spent on detailing the provisions. "By then, the draft agreement may even be ready. I believe that for this both sides should just work from the heart," Aliyev noted.

    Baku's proposal was welcomed in Yerevan, with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan expressing solidarity with the Azerbaijani president's opinion at a press conference on May 7. "I agree with the idea of concluding a peace treaty before November. For this purpose, it is necessary to enshrine in the peace treaty all those principles that are public and agreed upon in the negotiating platforms. These principles should be outlined and signed, I agree with this logic," the Armenian prime minister said, expressing hope that this progress will be recorded at the upcoming meeting of the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Almaty.

    It should be noted that the Armenian authorities' rather peace-loving rhetoric around the settlement of relations has appeared since the first months of this year after Nikol Pashinyan said in February that Yerevan had the political will to sign a peace treaty. "In fact, the architecture and principles of the peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan have been agreed, and at the end of last year it seemed to us that we were very close to finalising the text of the final treaty," Pashinyan told The Telegraph at the time.

    Now that Baku and Yerevan intend to continue the dialogue directly, without any intermediaries, there is a slight possibility that a comprehensive peace agreement could be signed on Kazakhstan's negotiating platform. Such a step seems quite logical since it was in Almaty in December 1991 that the Almaty Declaration was signed, according to which Baku and Yerevan decided to delimit the border. Only a few months remain until November, which means that Armenia does not have much time for reflection.

    Dmitry Solonnikov, director of the Russian Institute of Modern State Development, commented on the likelihood of signing a peace treaty between Baku and Yerevan while speaking to Caliber.Az.

    According to Solonnikov, the recent talks in Kazakhstan have shown that both Azerbaijan and Armenia are determined to continue the dialogue, which is a positive development.

    Solonnikov stated that although there was no significant breakthrough at the meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers in Almaty, there is still hope that an agreement can be reached by the end of the year. He also mentioned that the issue of signing a peace treaty between Baku and Yerevan is complicated due to the internal political situation in Armenia. However, the meeting was held without mediation from any external parties and on an independent platform, which Solonnikov sees as a significant success. He believes that if such a format is maintained in the future, it could help promote the idea of reaching agreements and signing a peace treaty.

    Caliber.Az

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