TODAY.AZ / Politics

Ongoing Trilateral Meeting: What do Baku-Yerevan-Washington discuss?

10 July 2024 [15:38] - TODAY.AZ
Fatime Letifova

Recently, U.S. interest in the South Caucasus has increased. Last month, the visit of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs James O'Brien to Armenia and Azerbaijan and the invitation to official Baku to the NATO summit are proof of this.

Today, a trilateral meeting is being held in Washington between Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, with the participation of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The current goal of official Washington is to claim activity at the negotiation table in its favour. In other words, the U.S. wants to show that its efforts have brought the parties closer to signing a peace agreement. However, official Baku has repeatedly emphasised that positive progress has been achieved only in meetings without intermediaries and that the former Minsk Group format and other meetings have delayed the resolution of the problem for years. It should be noted that meetings without intermediaries have only been held in Germany and Kazakhstan.

Now, Washington is trying to regain its lost mediator influence between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Recall that in November last year, due to James O'Brien's threatening statements against Azerbaijan, the U.S. lost its "neutral" mediator influence. Consequently, the Azerbaijan-U.S.-Armenia meeting scheduled for that month was cancelled by Azerbaijan, and Washington's proposal was rejected. Later, the U.S. leadership called President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and obtained permission for O'Brien's visit to Azerbaijan through apologies and requests.

Now, the U.S. wants Azerbaijan to compromise with Armenia on its constitutional demands. In return, it emphasises providing all kinds of support for the opening of the Middle Corridor. It is noteworthy that James O'Brien particularly highlighted the issue of the Zangazur Corridor during his visit to Azerbaijan.

Undoubtedly, these issues will also be discussed at the meeting between Jeyhun Bayramov and Ararat Mirzoyan in Washington. However, it should not be forgotten that Azerbaijan's position is firm, while Armenia may consult with the U.S. on how to make the aforementioned changes.
On the other hand, U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that Washington continues to work on a diplomatic settlement between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

There is no doubt that U.S. military activities and exercises are a continuation and extension of this policy. The "Eagle Partner" military exercises to be held in Armenia with the participation of U.S. and Armenian military personnel from July 15 to 24 are a result of Armenia's desire to end its strategic alliance with Russia and seek new allies and strategic partners.

It should be recalled that the first "Eagle Partner" exercise was held last September, and this is the second one. However, the goal is not to achieve a major military success in a short period but to demonstrate the U.S.-Armenia political unity and Washington's physical presence in the region.

This is because the termination of Georgia's candidacy in the European Union and the gradual normalisation of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia hinder the U.S.'s plans to pressure Russia in the region. In any case, the Azerbaijani leadership will not be a tool in the games of two major powers. It should not be forgotten that Azerbaijan is one of the rare countries that have been able to stand firm in the South Caucasus region, which has been coveted by great empires for centuries.

Now, peace negotiations are ongoing in the region after a 30-year conflict. Azerbaijan's liberation of the Garabagh region from Armenian occupation in 44 days and the neutralisation of the separatist forces in the region as a result of a 23-hour anti-terror operation indicate that official Baku is one of the cornerstones of the South Caucasus.

Undoubtedly, in today's meeting, the Azerbaijani side will maintain this determination. The expected step from Armenia is to step out of the shadow of the countries it has been a tool for over the years and move towards peace and tranquility. Undoubtedly, rushing to sign a peace agreement with Azerbaijan and, most importantly, removing territorial claims against Azerbaijan from its constitution is crucial for long-term peace in the region as well as a better future for Armenia.


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