The Secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, Armen Grigoryan, has said that a peace deal will be signed with Azerbaijan by the end of the year.
Grigoryan announced that agreement on the deal had been reached in an interview with the Armenian Public Broadcaster on Wednesday evening, saying that Armenia and Azerbaijan had agreed on a timetable of actions. ‘We agreed to conduct delimitation of the borders too.’
Grigoryan said that the mechanisms of the deal and border delimitation are not yet agreed.
‘The full withdrawal of Azerbaijani troops from the territory of Armenia continues to be on the agenda’, Grigoryan added.
The statement appeared to confirm a similar claim by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev shortly after the Prague meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders with the mediation of French President Emmanuel Macron and EU Council President Charles Michel.
‘If a decision is made soon, the working groups of the two countries will start working on the text of the peace agreement, we can reach an agreement by the end of the year’, Aliyev said. ‘I must say that no one — neither the Armenian side nor the European Union — has any questions about the five principles announced by us.’
Earlier this year, Azerbaijan sent a five-point proposal for a peace deal to Armenia, including recognising each other’s territorial integrity, cessation of ‘territorial claims’ against each other; an end to threats ‘to each other’s security in international relations’; the demarcation of borders and establishment of diplomatic relations; and the opening of lines of transport and communications.
In Prague, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan also agreed on an EU Civilian Mission in Armenia’s territory, along the border with Azerbaijan.
[Read more: EU observer mission agreed as Pashinyan and Aliyev meet in Prague]
The meetings in Prague and agreement on the deployment of EU observers to the border have been met with some consternation by Russia, who have accused the EU of trying to sideline them in the peace process.
In a Wednesday meeting with his Armenian counterpart, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was now ready to send its own observer mission to Armenia.
Armenian Foreign Minister, however, did not respond to the suggestion about CSTO observers while indirectly criticising Russia’s mild stance regarding the Azerbaijani attack on Armenia in mid-September, when he said ‘even’ some neutral states had named the aggressor.
On Wednesday evening, Grigoryan also appeared to oppose Lavrov’s statement, saying he did not have any information about the CSTO preparing any ‘concrete steps’ to normalise the situation.
[Read more: CSTO ‘ready’ to send observers to Armenia-Azerbaijan border as EU approves own mission]