TODAY.AZ / Politics

South Caucasus Weekly Review looks into major developments in Armenia, Georgia & Azerbaijan

05 October 2022 [09:59] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Vugar Khalilov

South Caucasus Weekly Review: 26 Sept-2 Oct 22

This project of Azernews is designed to cover major weekly developments in the South Caucasus nations.


Armenian, French leaders discuss regional situation in Paris

Allies refuse to sell weapons to Armenia – premier

Moscow, Brussels, Washington unwilling to recognize Karabakh's independence or inclusion in Armenia – Pashinyan

Belarus President visits Georgia’s occupied Abkhazia region

Premier: Georgia deserves EU membership status, fulfilling “Dream of Generations”

Georgia, EU’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia working group mull cooperation

Baku urges Yerevan to honor int’l obligations for sake of regional peace, security, prosperity

Azerbaijani, Armenian senior officials discuss peace agenda in Washington

Azerbaijani, Armenian FMs negotiate draft peace deal in Geneva


Armenian, French leaders discuss regional situation in Paris

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and French President Emmanuel Macron met in Paris to discuss late regional developments, Azernews reports, citing the Armenian media.

Prior to the meeting on September 26, the leaders of the two countries made statements for the press.

Large-scale military actions were held on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, resulting in several deaths. Armenian land was attacked, and civil infrastructure was damaged. In the face of an untenable scenario, France has fulfilled its obligations, Macron said.

“France, holding the presidency of the UN Security Council, convened a meeting of the Security Council, where the situation was discussed twice, on September 14 and 15. The Council members demanded a speedy cessation of hostilities and respect for the ceasefire. Taking into account that there are occupied positions, France demanded that the Azerbaijani forces return to their initial positions. I told President Aliyev on September 14 that the fact that the border is not demarcated cannot justify any advance into the territory of the other country,” the French president stressed.

He added that France is convinced that the use of force cannot be a solution for either Armenia or Azerbaijan and it is necessary to resume the dialogue immediately. All unresolved issues, which are numerous, should be resolved exclusively through negotiations.

According to Macron the 44-day war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2020, led to a de facto new situation with an expanded Russian military presence in the region.

In turn, Pashinyan underlined that the administrative borders between Soviet Armenia and Soviet Azerbaijan became state borders in the first months of independence of the two countries since both countries signed and ratified December 8, 1991, Agreement on Establishing Commonwealth of Independent States.

“As for long-term solutions, I think it is necessary to sign the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace treaty with the mutual recognition of the borders reaffirmed by the agreement of December 8, 1991. Armenia is ready for the opening of communications and the construction of new communication routes in the region, in accordance with the national legislations of the countries through which they pass,” Pashinyan said.

Allies refuse to sell weapons to Armenia – premier

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that Armenia’s allies refused to sell arms to his country, Azernews reports, citing the Armenian media.

At a cabinet meeting on September 29, Pashinyan said that Azerbaijan has had some success also in terms of its relations with Armenia’s allies, and is trying to do so that no weapons are supplied to Armenia. The premier added that payments had been made, but the commitments to supply weapons to Armenia are not being fulfilled, including by the allied nations.

“In all directions, in all cases wherever possible, unfortunately, they have some success also in terms of the relations with our allies, wherever possible they are attempting to do so that no arms and ammunition are supplied to Armenia. We have cases when 100 million dollars have been paid, but the delivery commitments to Armenia are not being fulfilled, including by the allied countries. This is, of course, a sad reality. And we need to deeply analyze this situation”, Pashinyan stressed.

He emphasized that all of this is being done with the long-term objective of forcing Armenia to reject its independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.

“But I want to emphasize that despite all factors, we are determined to protect our independence, our sovereignty, and our territorial integrity. And glory to all heroes, who stand in the positions to protect Armenia’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity”, Pashinyan added.

Meanwhile, the Economic Times reported that India would supply missiles and ammunition to Armenia.

The governments signed a number of contracts for the supply of arms and ammunition to Armenia in early September. Arms worth around $244 million are expected to be sent to Armenia in the upcoming months.

According to ET sources, the contract includes the first-ever export of indigenous Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers, which are already being used by the Indian army.

India will also supply anti-tank rockets as well as a range of ammunition to Armenia under the deal.

Moscow, Brussels, and Washington are unwilling to recognize Karabakh's independence or inclusion in Armenia – Pashinyan

Neither Moscow, Brussels, nor Washington is ready to recognize the independence of Karabakh or recognize it as part of Armenia, Armenian Premier Nikol Pashinyan said in an interview with Public Television on September 30, when asked whether Moscow, Brussels, and Washington have their own proposals on the Karabakh conflict settlement.

“We can’t say that each of them has their own package, but they do have certain views. If I am obliged to speak with our people truthfully, and I am obliged to do so, I should have said this earlier, even before the war. None of the countries you mentioned is ready to recognize Karabakh's independence, and none of them is ready to recognize Karabakh as part of Armenia. We must face this truth,” he said.

When asked whether these nations acknowledge Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan, Pashinyan said that there is a declaration by the above-mentioned countries that Karabakh is an internationally recognized part of Azerbaijan.


Belarus president visits Georgia’s occupied Abkhazia region

Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka visited Abkhazia, his first trip as president to the Georgian breakaway territory on September 28, Azernews reports, citing the Georgian media.

At the meeting with the so-called president of occupied Abkhazia, Aslan Bzhania, Lukashenka said that the issue of Abkhazia was discussed at the meeting held the day before with President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

“Yesterday, we discussed the problems of Abkhazia with our elder brother Vladimir Putin. We were discussing these issues till late at night and came to the conclusion that Abkhazia cannot be abandoned. It needs help so that this prosperous land and the people who live here can live normally,” Lukashenka said.

He added that Belarus and Russia are coordinating their actions.

“Today, more than ever, we see what the world has turned into. We will not be allowed to live in peace. Therefore, we should strengthen relations with our friends,” Lukashenka said.

Georgia's reaction to the Belarusian president's visit was obviously negative.

“I strongly condemn Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s visit to Abkhazia region occupied by and meetings with representatives of the Russian occupation regime. This step violates the law on occupied territories and contradicts international law as well as bilateral relations between our countries,” Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili stressed.

“I strongly condemn President Lukashenka’s visit to Russian-occupied Abkhazia. It is an obvious violation of territorial integrity and sovereignty, which needs a strong response from the government and the international community. We all should be firm in addressing such violations!” For Georgia party leader Giorgi Gakharia said.

“I strongly condemn Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s visit to occupied Abkhazia. This is an unacceptable violation of Georgia’s `Law on Occupied Territories' and the principles of our bilateral relations and international law,” Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili emphasized.

“President Lukashenka’s arrival in Bichvinta in occupied Abkhazia/Georgia in violation of Georgia’s Law on "Occupied Territories" is unacceptable. We strongly condemn this unlawful action. Fundamental principles of international law must be followed,” Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili said.

On September 29, the Foreign Ministry summoned the Belarus ambassador to Georgia following Lukashenka’s visit to the occupied Abkhazia region.

Likewise, the European Union also strongly condemned Lukashenka’s visit to Abkhazia, describing it as a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, as well as international law.

“The European Union strongly condemns Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s visit to Georgia’s Abkhazia, in the separatist region, despite the fact that Lukashenka as a person has no legitimacy to act as the head of state,” European Commission spokesperson Peter Stano said.

Premier: Georgia deserves EU membership status, fulfilling the “Dream of Generations”

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili made a speech on September 22 at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, emphasizing that receiving EU membership candidate status will make the “dream of generations a reality” since, in the end, it will lead to gaining EU membership.

“We are continuing our absolute path towards European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Our commitment to these goals is backed up by actions and real results, including an Association Agreement, DCFTA, and visa-free travel with the EU,” Garibashvili stated at the assembly.

Garibashvili mentioned the European Council’s historic decision to provide Georgia with a European perspective in his speech, stating that it had produced a new set of benchmarks. Garibashvili asserted that just as in the past, Georgia will meet and exceed those benchmarks.

“We are fully aware that the European perspective comes with a responsibility of the highest political, economic, and legal convergence with the EU. Georgia immediately responded to the European Council’s decision by presenting an action plan to address the EU’s 12 priorities,” the PM noted.

“Let me be clear: Georgia deserves EU member candidate status, which will bring us to eventual membership and make the dream of generations a reality,” he said.

The PM also stressed the Georgian Dream party's efforts to carry out a reform program that had brought the country closer to significant international partners such as the EU, US, NATO, and UN.

Georgia, EU’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia working group mull cooperation

Georgia’s Parliamentary Majority Leader Irakli Kobakhidze held a meeting with the members of the European Union’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Working Group (COEST) on September 27.

The discussion at the meeting touched on the implementation of the 12 recommendations of the European Union.

“An interesting meeting was held. We introduced to our colleagues – the representatives of the EU countries how the twelve points are being implemented. In this regard, we presented a detailed report, and at the same time, we touched on all the main issues related to the development of the country,” said Kobakhidze after the meeting.

Similarly, the members of the parliamentary opposition also met with the COEST members.

The parties discussed the current situation regarding the implementation of the 12-point recommendations proposed by the European Union for granting the candidate status to Georgia. The representatives of the parliamentary opposition introduced their vision to the EU guests regarding the implementation of the hereof recommendations.


Baku urges Yerevan to honor int’l obligations for sake of regional peace, security, prosperity

Baku has urged Yerevan to honor its international obligations for the sake of regional peace, security and prosperity, Azernews reports, citing the Foreign Ministry.

In a statement on the second anniversary of September 27 Remembrance Day, the ministry emphasized that Azerbaijan is the initiator of normalizing ties with Armenia on the basis of rigorous adherence to international legal norms, particularly sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of international borders.

“We call on Armenia to respect these fundamental principles to ensure peace, security, and prosperity in the region and comply with its international obligations. Armenia should finally put an end to imitation in the negotiations and take genuine, constructive steps. There is no other alternative for the peaceful development of the region,” the statement stresses.

It recalls that two years have passed since the Azerbaijani armed forces' retaliatory steps in 2020 to confront another military provocation by the Armenian armed forces, which marked the start of the 44-day Patriotic War.

Azerbaijan's counter-measures were taken within the scope of the right to self-defense and in line with international humanitarian law to halt Armenia's recurring military aggression and ensure the civilian population's safety, the ministry underlined.

Azerbaijani, Armenian senior officials discuss peace agenda in Washington

Azerbaijani presidential top foreign policy aide Hikmat Hajiyev and Armenian Security Council Secretary Armen Grigoryan have discussed the peace agenda in Washington, under the auspices of US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Azernews reports.

"Today, I hosted Hikmat Hajiyev and Armen Grigoryan for direct and constructive talks. We discussed the importance of avoiding further violence and pursuing time-bound and focused negotiations. We also identified concrete steps forward in support of a stable and lasting peace," Sullivan wrote on his Twitter page on September 28.

"We thank the US for arranging the meeting and efforts to ensure sustainable regional peace. The meeting results were reported by Jake Sullivan in an agreed way. The major point here is to continue working on the peace agenda within a specific timeline. The meeting addressed peace agreement negotiations, border delimitation, the opening of transport lines, as well as issues regarding landmines and missing persons, which are part of the humanitarian agenda," Hajiyev said.

Azerbaijani, Armenian FMs negotiate draft peace deal in Geneva

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan met to negotiate a draft peace treaty in Geneva on October 2, Azernews reports, citing the ministry.

The bilateral meeting was organized in accordance with the task assigned to foreign ministers to develop the text of the peace treaty as agreed by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on August 31 in Brussels under the auspices of European Union Council President Charles Michel.

Bayramov stressed the importance of efforts on normalizing interstate ties between Azerbaijan and Armenia and negotiating a peace treaty in the post-conflict period. The minister called Armenia's attention to the peace treaty provisions based on Azerbaijan's five principles in this respect.

Taking into account the recent tensions on the undelimited border, Bayramov proposed conducting the next meeting of the bilateral commissions on delimitation in October, rather than November as originally scheduled.

The Azerbaijani top diplomat emphasized the significance of the full withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from Azerbaijani territory, the opening of transport and communication lines in a timely manner based on preliminary agreements, reached in the trilateral commission led by deputy prime ministers, the need to move forward in the field of border delimitation as envisaged in the trilateral statements, signed by the Azerbaijani, Armenian, and Russian leaders.

Concerning humanitarian issues, the minister stressed the need for clarifying the fates of almost 4,000 missing Azerbaijanis, as well as the inadmissibility of Armenia's ongoing mine-laying campaign in Azerbaijani territory, which causes numerous tragic losses and is considered a war crime and a gross violation of Armenia's obligations under the trilateral statement.

Bayramov emphasized Azerbaijan's commitment to regional peace and stability, as well as its willingness to sign a peace deal. It was decided that negotiations in this respect would continue.


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