After months of impasse, the trilateral group resumes work on finding a solution to the conflict. The first objective is to reopen communication routes in the South Caucasus. However, the parties are still far apart.
Moscow (AsiaNews) – After more than two months, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia resumed high-level meetings on Thursday with the participation of deputy prime ministers, namely Mher Grigoryan for Armenia, Shahin Mustafayev for Azerbaijan, and Alexey Overchuk for Russia.
The three men looked at the possibility of re-establishing communication routes in the South Caucasus and discussed the results of the negotiations between the leaders of the three countries, on 11 January 2021.
The resumption of negotiations is somewhat surprising, given tensions on the Armenian-Azerbaijani borders in recent months. Grigoryan had personally announced on 1 June the interruption of trilateral talks because of the border clashes.
According to Armenia, contacts would only be possible if Azerbaijani forces pulled back from disputed areas, which has not happened.
The change in attitude on the part of the Armenians is attributable to the new situation created by the re-election of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, now clearly less pressured by his defeated opposition in parliament.
At a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Pashinyan said that Armenia is ready to resume negotiations with Azerbaijan at all levels, and is waiting for concrete proposals, especially to resolve the communications problem.
According to Pashinyan, “there are issues that can be resolved faster, and others that take longer to resolve, but our intention must be to find solutions. One of the issues that can be decided more quickly is precisely the reopening of regional communications, unblocking the most critical current matters.”
“Unfortunately, Armenia is opposed to that,” said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev speaking to CNN Türk after Pashinyan's statement.
“Until recently they had been opposed to the opening of the Zangazur (Syunik in Armenian) corridor,” Aliyev added. But “Just that a few days ago, some positive opinion was expressed there that they do not object to it.’
The Armenians have always said that they “never accepted, and do not accept, either now or in the future, the idea of the corridor,”, but that they are only seeking to unblock communications in the Armenian region.
Aliyev also asked Russia not to sell weapons to Armenia. Irked, Russia responded through Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
“Arms supplies abroad is Russia’s sovereign right,” she said, adding that “bellicose statements do not help the pacification of the situation according to the three-way agreements between the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.”
One particular aspect of the dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia concerns toponyms.
Aliyev called on his country's media to always use only Azerbaijani place names, even if they are in Armenian territory.
The province of Vardenis is thus called Basarkeçər, Lake Sevan becomes Lake Göyçə and so on, sparking the same reaction by Armenians.
The war is not only about conquest and revenge, but above all about historical and cultural superiority in areas with an ancient and symbolic past for both Asia and Europe.