Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan embraces President Vladimir Putin (right), as does his Azerbaijani counterpart, President Ilham Aliyev

Putin, Aliyev and Pashinyan Sign Joint Statement on Karabakh

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MOSCOW (Combined Sources) — Following talks in the Kremlin on Monday, January 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a joint statement on the development of Karabakh.

According to the Russian leader, the plan for the implementation of the agreement will soon be presented by the deputy prime ministers of the three countries. They will lead a trilateral working group that will deal with the restoration of economic, trade and transport links, as well as the opening of borders in Nagorno-Karabakh. In addition, working expert subgroups will be formed.

The statement released after the meeting was:

“We, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan I. H. Aliyev, Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia N. V. Pashinyan and President of the Russian Federation V. V. Putin declare the following:

  • In order to implement part of point 9 of the Statement of November 9, 2020 regarding the unblocking of all economic and transportation routes in the region, we support the proposal of the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin on the establishment of a tripartite Working Group under the joint chairmanship of the Vice-Prime Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia and Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.
  • The Working Group will hold the first meeting until January 30, 2021, based on the results of which it will form a list of the main areas of work arising from the implementation of point 9 of the Statement, setting railway and road communications as priorities, and will also determine other areas as agreed between the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic Armenia and the Russian Federation, hereinafter referred to as the Parties.
  • In order to implement the main directions of activity, the co-chairs of the Working Group will approve the composition of the expert subgroups in these areas made of officials of the competent authorities and organizations of the Parties. The expert subgroups, within a month after the meeting of the Working Group, will present a list of projects with justification of the necessary resources and activities for their implementation and approval at the highest level by the Parties.
  • The Working Group, by March 1, 2021, will submit for approval at the highest level by the Parties a list and a schedule for the implementation of measures involving the restoration and construction of new transport infrastructure facilities necessary for the organization, implementation and security of international traffic carried out through the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, as well as transportations carried out by the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, which require crossing the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia.

 

Meeting

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“I am sure that the implementation of these agreements will benefit both the Armenian and Azerbaijani people and, without any doubt, will benefit the region as a whole, and therefore the interests of the Russian Federation,” Putin stressed.

Pashinyan agreed that the agreements reached at the meeting in Moscow would lead to greater security guarantees in Karabakh and help change the economic image of the region.

Pashinyan thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for the efforts he is investing in restoring stability and security in the region and in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“Unfortunately, this conflict has not been resolved. Of course, we managed to secure the ceasefire, but there are still many issues that must be resolved. One of these issues is the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, and Armenia is ready to continue negotiations within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship,” Pashinyan said.

“Unfortunately, today we were unable to resolve the issue of prisoners of war, and this is the most sensitive and painful issue, because it is a humanitarian issue. We agreed that we will continue to work in this direction,” he said.

Pashinyan noted that the 8th point of the joint statement of November 10, 2020, is not fully implemented.

“I hope that we will be able to come to a concrete decision in the shortest possible time,” he added.

The 8th point of the statement of the President of Azerbaijan, the Prime Minister of Armenia and the President of Russia on November 10, 2020, calls for the exchange of prisoners of war, hostages and other detained persons and the bodies of the dead.

From left, Nikol Pashinyan, Ilham Aliyev and Vladimir Putin

According to the Armenian Prime Minister, the statement signed on January 11 may change the economic appearance of the region.

“The statement we signed today is really very important, and I will not hide the fact that the implementation of this statement can simply change the economic image and appearance of our region, and economic innovations can also lead to more reliable security guarantees,” Pashinyan said.

He declared his readiness to work constructively in this direction, “but, unfortunately, it is impossible to resolve all issues during one meeting.”

“I hope that we will continue to advance. I would like to emphasize once again that the most important issue for us at the moment is humanitarian issues, issues of exchange of prisoners of war, which are provided for in paragraph 8 of our joint statement of November 10,” Pashinyan said.

“Unfortunately, we did not manage today to solve the issue of prisoners of war,” Pashinyan said after the talks.

He said that Baku is still not fully complying with another provision of the truce agreement that calls for the exchange of all prisoners of war and civilians held by the conflicting sides. “I hope that we will succeed in finding a concrete solution very soon,” added the Armenian premier.

In addition, the issue concerning Karabakh’s status remains unresolved, Pashinyan stated.

“Unfortunately, this conflict remains unresolved. Of course, we were able to reach a ceasefire regime, yet there are many issues to be addressed. One of those issues is the status of Nagorno-Karabakh,” said Pashinyan, adding Armenia is ready to continue the talks under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group.

Pashinyan also noted that the parties to the talk were unable to find a solution on the exchange of war prisoners. “This is a sensitive topic, and we must address it urgently,” said the PM.

Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev, meanwhile, assessed the meeting efficient and fruitful in the context of the future development of the region. He expressed hope that neighboring states will be actively engaged in developing transport infrastructure in the South Caucasus.

Both Aliyev and Pashinyan received hugs as they were greeted by Putin, however, the two leaders didn’t shake hands and gave only head nods.

It is noted that the leaders wore no masks at the meeting. After the official welcome, Vladimir Putin made opening remarks followed by talks behind the closed doors.

The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is calm, Putin said.

“The situation in the region is calm. We have been doing a great deal to promote the safe return of internally displaced persons and refugees to their homes. Since November 14, 2020 more than 48,000 people have returned to Karabakh,” Putin said, as quoted by TASS news agency.

“The center’s personnel are restoring electric and thermal power supply. More than 800 tons of building materials and 1.5 million tons of humanitarian cargo have been delivered to the conflict zone. Medical assistance is being provided for the population. Mine clearance has been carried out on an area of 479 hectares; 182 kilometers of roads and 710 buildings have been checked. More than 22,000 explosive items have been found and eliminated,” Putin added.

In the words of the president, Russia sought to follow the main principles of the OSCE Minsk Group in all its action on Karabakh. “We continue to periodically consult with our partners, the co-chairmen of the Minsk group,” said Putin.

A protest against Pashinyan’s trip to Moscow was held in Yerevan on Monday.

Early in the morning, police closed off all the roads, including Isakov Avenue, leading to the Zvartnots Airport, not allowing activists to hinder Pashinyan’s visit to Moscow. As a result, the premier’s motorcade reached the airport without obstacles.

Afterwards, police officers reopened Isakov Avenue and citizens continued the protest chanting “Nikol the traitor.”

(Ria Novosti, Arka, Panorama.am and Azatutyun contributed to this report.)

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