Though the anticipated meeting between the Azerbaijani, Armenian, and Russian leaders originally set for 9 November failed to materialise, Restart Initiative welcomes the fact that such a meeting between President Ilham Aliyev, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, and President Vladimir Putin did take place in Sochi on Friday. In an interview with TASS, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko announced that it was intended to “outline promising directions for the normalisation of Baku-Yerevan relations.”
“We expect long-awaited peace and stability to be established in the region as soon as possible,” Rudenko was quoted as saying.
While many were expecting one or more documents to be signed by the three leaders, following more than three hours of talks only a statement surfaced. Nevertheless, it represents a genuine reaffirmation by all parties to gradually implement in full the terms of the November 2020 ceasefire agreement as well as other decisions made at an earlier trilateral meeting held on 11 January 2021. Restart Initiative is especially pleased by the announcement from all three leaders that yesterday’s meeting was positive.
Announcing the signed statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin also stressed that consensus had been reached on a number of key issues.
The first is the need to create a mechanism for the delimitation and demarcation of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border by the end of the year. We believe that this will benefit security and stability in general as well as pave the way for another – the unblocking of rail and road links currently being deliberated in a working group formed earlier this year at the level of the Azerbaijani, Armenian, and Russian Deputy Prime Ministers. This group will meet next week in Moscow to announce the results as well as decisions made in Sochi.
Restart Initiative particularly welcomes statements from President Aliyev and Prime Minister Pashinyan that both are ready to normalise relations between Azerbaijan and Armenian in order to finally establish peace and regional stability in the South Caucasus. We also welcome the news that the Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders will meet again on the sidelines of the European Union Eastern Partnership Summit to be held in Brussels on 15 December.
As demonstrated by Restart Initiative’s event held earlier this month in Berlin, bringing together Dr. Arman Grigoryan and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Tofig Zulfugarov for discussion and debate on these and other matters, as well as separate meetings held at the German Foreign Ministry and with Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, President of the Munich Security Conference, we continue to stand ready to support these and other processes that can only benefit Azerbaijan, Armenia, and the South Caucasus.