Hopes remain high as Baku, Yerevan get into practicability of biting issues to make peace
Azerbaijani and Armenian Deputy Prime Ministers Shahin Mustafayev and Mher Grigoryan respectively, who are also chairs of the border commissions simultaneously set up on 23 May following the third Brussels meeting between the two leaders, held their first meeting on 24 May to chart a course of action toward a future peace deal, Azernews reports.
Experts familiar with the nearly 30-year-long conflict viewed the move as a solid step toward a future peace deal.
Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev and his Armenian counterpart Mher Grigoryan held their first meeting in this format without the involvement of foreign intermediaries, raising hopes for the signing of a future peace treaty between the two countries after 30 years of conflict.
“The parties reaffirmed their readiness to work within the framework of the commission on delimitation and other issues. Organizational and procedural issues of joint activities of the commission were discussed,” the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.
In addition to meetings at the interstate border, the sides agreed to convene further commission meetings in a variety of locations, including the second one in Moscow and the third one in Brussels.
On May 25, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko confirmed that the second meeting of the Azerbaijani-Armenian border delimitation commissions will be held in Moscow, the TASS agency reported.
"We hope that it will be held next week," Rudenko said.
This arrangement of the forthcoming round of talks in Moscow and Brussels is viewed as a balancing act between the two leading intermediaries with whom these two South Caucasus nations want to preserve good relations.
EU Council President Charles Michel, who is actively involved in the Azerbaijan-Armenia peace negotiations, praised the first meeting of the border commissions, describing it as "tangible progress" following the leaders' third Brussels summit.
“Warmly welcome first meeting of Border Commissions held today on Armenia-Azerbaijan border to advance discussions on delimitation of the inter-state border and how best to ensure stable situation. Tangible progress following the trilateral meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan," Michel tweeted.
On the other hand, France, as co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, indicated support for the European Union-mediated peace negotiations in Brussels on May 22 between the Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders, the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"France reaffirms its support for the dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan under the auspices of the EU and will contribute to this dialogue," the ministry added.
Furthermore, in a telephone conversation with Pashinyan, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken offered assistance with border delimitation and demarcation efforts, Azernews reports, citing the US Department of State.
Mentioning the positive momentum toward peace in the South Caucasus, Blinken encouraged the progress to develop regional transportation and communication links.
He emphasized the significance of continuing bilateral communication to address difficulties in the South Caucasus and underlined the United States' support for talks between President Aliyev and Prime Minister Pashinyan through the mediation of the EU.
Blinken underlined his country’s willingness to assist Armenia and Azerbaijan in finding a long-term comprehensive peace by engaging bilaterally and with like-minded allies, including via the United States' mission as an OSCE Minsk Group co-chair. Blinken emphasized the need for normalizing Armenian-Turkish ties in securing peace, stability, and development in the region.
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