By Mark Dovich
In separate announcements Thursday, Armenian officials said the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders will hold talks next Wednesday in Brussels, while the two countries’ joint border delimitation commission will convene in Moscow one day prior.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s office confirmed that Pashinyan will hold talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and European Council President Charles Michel in Brussels next Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan’s office announced that senior Armenian and Azerbaijani officials will travel to Moscow next Tuesday for border delimitation talks.
No other information was made immediately available.
Pashinyan-Aliyev meeting in Brussels
The European Union has already brokered two meetings between Pashinyan and Aliyev so far this year. Following talks in April and May, the two leaders reportedly reached some form of understanding on preparing for peace and convening a joint border delimitation commission.
Following their talks in May, Pashinyan and Aliyev agreed to meet again in July or August.
Still, nothing of substance has come of the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process so far, and tensions between the two countries remain extremely high. In the most recent incident, a major escalation in Karabakh earlier this month left at least two Armenian soldiers and one Azerbaijani soldier dead.
In recent months, the European Union has sought a greater mediating role between Armenia and Azerbaijan, amid apparent paralysis at the Minsk Group, a body that has led efforts to mediate a peaceful resolution to the Karabakh conflict for many years, largely without result. Washington has welcomed Brussels’ involvement, while Moscow has said it amounts to interference.
Border commission meeting in Moscow
Grigoryan’s office told CivilNet earlier this week the commission would convene by the end of the month, but did provide an exact date until Thursday.
Ivan Nechaev, a spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, said a few weeks ago Russia was planning to organize high-level talks between Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Russian officials in the near future, but did not specify what exactly that meant.
Armenia and Azerbaijan officially formed a joint border commission in May, comprising dozens of senior-level officials and led by the two countries’ deputy prime ministers.
Grigoryan met his Azerbaijani counterpart, Shahin Mustafayev, shortly thereafter on the border between Armenia and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan. Following those talks, Grigoryan and Mustafayev reached an agreement to hold a second border meeting in Moscow, followed by a third meeting in Brussels.
The border between Armenia and Azerbaijan remains undelimited and undemarcated, as it was once an internal Soviet boundary, so officially defining it was not of concern to the authorities at the time. Delimitation refers to the process by which a border is legally defined, while demarcation involves the process of physically marking a border, such as by building a fence or wall.