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Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to bilateral commission in Sochi summit

27 November 2021
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During their meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev have agreed to establish a bilateral commission on the demarcation and delimitation of borders.

According to Vladimir Putin, who hosted the summit in the Russian city of Sochi, the commission would be created before the end of the year. 

Pashinyan and Aliyev also signed a document in which they committed to ‘take steps to increase the level of stability and security on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border’. Prior to the summit, the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan was wracked by the deadliest clashes since the end of the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War. 

Much of the summit was spent by the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan praising the Russian peacekeeping mission in Nagorno-Karabakh — despite a spate of deadly incidents in recent weeks. 

There was no direct exchange between Pashinyan and Aliyev though the two did exchange veiled barbs while speaking with Putin. Aliyev said that Azerbaijan had offered a ‘peace agreement’ to Armenia, which included the mutual recognition of territorial integrity, but that Armenia had not accepted it. 

Armenia should ‘learn to live in a neighbourly way’, the Azerbaijani President said. 

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, while heaping praise on Russia’s role in regulating the conflict, said that the situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan is not ‘as good as they’d like it to be’. He stressed his dissatisfaction with Azerbaijan still holding Armenian POWs, and allegedly having troops stationed on Armenian territory. 

‘It may not be demarcated and delimited’, Pashinyan said, ‘but the state border still exists’. 

The text of the agreement reached in Sochi.

Pashinyan and Aliyev are set to meet again on 15 December in Brussels on the margins of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership Summit.

Richard Giragosian, political analyst and the director of Regional Studies Center, a Yerevan-based think tank told OC Media that despite not producing few concrete commitments, the Sochi summit was ‘significant’ could be considered a ‘success’.

‘The meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders offered an essential return to diplomacy over force of arms’, Giragosian said, adding that the ‘mini-summit’ was also of value to Russian President Vladimir Putin, in that it took place prior to the Pashinyan-Aliyev meeting in Brussels — which had been announced before the Sochi summit. 

‘Putin sought to preempt the EU and used Sochi to reassert Russia’s role as the initiator and enforcer of the 2020 Russian-imposed ceasefire’, Girgosian said. 

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