Bilateral talks hold key to peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia

Politics Materials 9 May 2024 13:54 (UTC +04:00)
Bilateral talks hold key to peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia
Ali Gasimov
Ali Gasimov
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 9. With the start of border delimitation, Azerbaijan and Armenia took a huge leap toward rapprochement. Following the April 19 meeting of both countries' commissions, Armenia consented to return four villages in Azerbaijan's Gazakh region, which it previously occupied. This development underscores the effectiveness of direct bilateral talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia, contrasting with negotiations involving external parties that often yield only vague declarations and necessitate prolonged follow-up discussions.

Numerous times, including at the highest level, Azerbaijan has emphatically declared its commitment to regional peace. Consistently, the country has advocated for the resolution of regional issues solely through bilateral channels. Azerbaijan's actions have consistently aligned with its stated goal of achieving peace with Armenia. Conversely, Armenia tends to seek the involvement of Western parties at every opportunity, diverging from the path of direct bilateral engagement.

Polish political analyst and candidate of political sciences Jakub Korejba told Trend, commenting on the results of the commission meeting, that delimitation and then demarcation of the border are steps towards normalizing relations between the states.

“Therefore, the accord to begin border delimitation between Armenia and Azerbaijan marks a historic milestone. It signifies a transition from non-constructive, conflict-ridden relations towards constructive, mutually beneficial bilateral ties. In essence, it signifies the initiation of a normalization process, wherein both parties acknowledge and uphold each other's independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. Undoubtedly, this marks a historic transformation in the South Caucasus region,” he said.

According to the analyst, the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan entails a rejection of involving external actors in shaping their relationship. Over the years, Armenia has essentially elevated this matter to the realm of international politics, thereby making it contingent upon the decisions of external forces.

“Armenia is currently not veering away from this strategy. Instead, it is merely substituting one external ally, Russia, with another, France. Until Armenia shifts away from this stance, reaching a peace treaty will remain unattainable. Such a treaty serves the interests of Armenia and Azerbaijan, rather than those of external powers,” Korejba said.

As highlighted by the Polish political analyst, external forces have consistently nudged Armenia towards revanchism and aggression, exacerbating conflict instead of fostering peace.

“In essence, external forces, regardless of who they are, benefit from maintaining a state of tension, anticipating conflict, or even the possibility of war. It's only when Armenia begins to engage with Azerbaijan directly, on a bilateral level, that the prospect of forging a lasting and strategically thoughtful peace agreement becomes viable,” he added.

It's safe to say that Armenia's endeavors to engage third parties in the normalization process with Azerbaijan won't expedite peace in the region. Instead, it's likely to prolong the negotiation process. As previously observed, the priorities of third parties do not lie in facilitating regional peace but in advancing their agendas.

In turn, PhD fellow in Public, Comparative, and International Law of La Sapienza University of Rome and geopolitics expert Valentina Chabert told Trend that Azerbaijan and Armenia are steadily progressing towards normalizing their relations with each passing day.

“The results of the 8th meeting of the delimitation commission between the countries can be deemed successful and beneficial for enhancing regional stability. It serves as a testament to the efficacy of bilateral negotiations among the involved parties. With continued diplomatic efforts in this vein, we may anticipate similar progress in addressing other issues between the two nations in the future,” she said.

Chabert added that a realistic and dispassionate analysis shows that many issues remain to be discussed.

“Simultaneously, diplomacy requires time to yield results. Nonetheless, even if a peace treaty isn't finalized in the upcoming months, encouraging advancements like the 8th meeting of the countries' delimitation commission offer optimism for the region's eventual attainment of stability, peace, and development at the earliest possibility,” the Italian expert added.

It becomes evident that bilateral dialogue holds the key to success in the normalization process between the two nations. With the peace agreement reached with Azerbaijan and the subsequent unblocking of transport routes in the region, Armenia stands to enhance its relationships, engage in trade with neighboring states, and partake in regional initiatives, thus reaping substantial economic rewards.

Therefore, Armenia must relinquish attempts to involve third parties with their agendas in the region's normalization process. Instead, Armenia should opt for direct negotiations with Azerbaijan, focusing on bilateral cooperation for the future advancement of its nation and the betterment of its people's welfare.

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