Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia move closer on border issues in Moscow
By Vugar Khalilov
On June 3, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia held the 10th meeting of the trilateral working group on the opening of regional transport communications in Moscow.
"The parties discussed and brought closer their positions on issues of border, customs, and other types of control, as well as the safe passage of citizens, vehicles, and goods on roads and railways through the territories of the Azerbaijani Republic and the Republic of Armenia," the Russian government website reports.
The Trilateral Working Group met for the tenth time on June 3, 2022, co-chaired by Azerbaijani, Armenian and Russian Deputy Prime Ministers Shahin Mustafayev, Mger Grigoryan and Alexei Overchuk to discuss the border issues, the report added.
The parties discussed and coordinated views on borders, customs, and other kinds of control, as well as safe transit of people, cars, and goods by roads and railways through the territories of Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Moreover, the parties discussed prospective routes for highways that would connect Azerbaijan’s western regions with its Nakhchivan exclave via Armenia.
The parties agreed to keep working to execute the agreements reached by the Azerbaijani, Armenian and Russian leaders on the opening of regional transportation linkages.
At a summit in Moscow on January 11, 2021, the leaders of Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan agreed to form a working group at the level of the three countries' deputy prime ministers to focus on the construction of transport and economic ties between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
In May, Azerbaijan and Armenia announced the creation of border delimitation commissions following the Brussels meeting under the auspices of EU Council President Charles Michel. The first meeting of the commissions took place on May 24.
The parties confirmed their willingness to cooperate on delimitation and other matters within the commission's framework. The conference also discussed the commission's joint operations' organizational and procedural difficulties.
A high-ranking EU official, who wished anonymous, said that Brussels does not and will not coordinate its measures with Moscow on the topic of normalization of the Armenian-Azerbaijani ties, Azernews reports citing foreign media.
The European diplomat claimed that in view of the latest geopolitical processes, both Yerevan and Baku are now cautious about the Kremlin.
“Russia may have stopped the [44-day] war, but obviously the continuation of the process is happening in Brussels, not in Moscow. And the fact that the sides come to Brussels so often is one indication of that," he added.
Over the previous six months, the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders met three times through the mediation of European Council President Charles Michel, with the latest two sessions taking place in the midst of Western-Russian tensions over Ukraine.
Moscow expressed apparent displeasure with Brussels' mediation attempts. Several weeks ago, the Russian Foreign Ministry publicly accused the West of "shamelessly trying to appropriate the subject of the well-known Russia-Azerbaijan-Armenia high-level agreements," claiming that Washington and Brussels have increased their diplomatic activity by refusing to cooperate with Russia in the OSCE Minsk Group.
Earlier, during a meeting with his Armenian counterpart, the Russian foreign minister openly stated the same.
"I do not know what the future fate of the Minsk Group will be, because our so-called French and American partners in this group in a Russophobic frenzy, in a desire to cancel everything and everything that concerns Russia, canceled the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, saying that they will not communicate in this format," Lavrov said.
Brussels also believes that, while the Minsk Group's de jure mediation framework exists, it is not functioning in practice. Apparently, the West is not willing to cooperate with Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.
The future status of Karabakh is one of the most controversial topics in the peace talks between Baku and Yerevan. The former argues that such a situation no longer exists, but the latter asks that the security and rights of Armenians in Karabakh, as well as the status question, should be addressed first.
Referring to these disputes, the president of the European Council stated that the fundamental issues must be examined and resolved by all parties concerned in order for a long-term solution to the conflict to be reached.
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