Russia Reports Progress In Talks On Armenian-Azeri Transport Links

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YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Russia said over the weekend that Armenia and Azerbaijan narrowed their differences on planned transport links between the two countries during fresh talks held in Moscow.

A Russian-Armenian-Azerbaijani commission dealing with the matter met late on Friday, June 3 for the first time in six months.

“The parties discussed and brought closer their positions on border issues, customs and other types of control, as well as the safe passage of citizens, vehicles and goods on roads and railways through the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia,” the Russian government said in a statement.

The statement did not go into details of the meeting co-chaired by deputy prime ministers of the three states. It said the parties “will continue to work on the implementation” of relevant Armenian-Azerbaijani agreements that were brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin during and after the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Armenian government issued a virtually identical statement on the Moscow meeting.

Putin, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev reported decisive progress towards opening the Armenian-Azerbaijani border to passenger and cargo traffic after talks held in the Russian city of Sochi in November. However, the trilateral commission failed to put the finishing touches on their understandings at a meeting held in Moscow in December.

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Yerevan and Baku continued to disagree on the status of a road and a railway that will connect Azerbaijan with its Nakhichevan exclave through Armenia. Aliyev said later in December that people and cargo passing through that “corridor” must be exempt from Armenian border controls. Pashinyan rejected the demand.

Moscow moved to revive the activities of the Russian-Armenian-Azerbaijani commission in April after accusing the West of trying to hijack its efforts to make peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The accusations followed Pashinyan’s April 6 meeting with Aliyev hosted by European Council President Charles Michel. The three leaders met again in Brussels for follow-up discussions on the transport links, the demarcation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and a possible peace treaty between the two South Caucasus nations.

Aliyev continued to claim after the latest summit that Yerevan will open a permanent land corridor for Nakhichevan. Armenian leaders flatly denied that. A spokesman for Michel likewise stated last week that the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders agreed at Brussels that there would be no “extraterritorial claims with regard to future transport infrastructure.”

 

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