We do recognise Russia’s key decisive efforts in ending the war of 2020, as well as the diplomatic work done since then, EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia Toivo Klaar said in an interview to Armenian News - NEWS.am.
It was agreed to instruct Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Azerbaijan to work on the preparation of a future peace treaty, which, according to the Statement of the European Council President, would address all necessary issues. Will the issue of the future status of Nagorno Karabakh be addressed in the future peace treaty among all necessary issues, as it's mentioned in the Statement? Was that issue discussed in the context of the possible talks on the future peace treaty?
Indeed, during the Second Trilateral Meeting held in Brussels on 6 April, President Michel noted both President Aliyev's and Prime Minister Pashinyan's stated desire to move rapidly towards a peace agreement between their countries. To this end, it was agreed to instruct Ministers of Foreign Affairs to work on the preparation of a future peace treaty, which would address all necessary issues.
I would not want to provide a list of what would be and what would not be part of such a treaty. Again, it’s ultimately up to the sides to agree on the content of such a bilateral peace treaty. From our side, I can certainly repeat our well-known position in favor of a comprehensive Armenia-Azerbaijan settlement, which would address all relevant issues. We know the differences between Armenia and Azerbaijan about the future of the region. These have been publicly stated on a number of occasions. We do hope that both sides will manage to turn the page of conflict in the region and engage constructively in these peace talks. During the second trilateral meeting, the EU reiterated its willingness to help the sides move in this direction.
It was also agreed to convene a Joint Border Commission by the end of April, which would also have a mandate to delimit the bilateral border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Is the possible delimitation linked to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and its future status? Has the last issue been discussed in the context of the border delimitation process during the trilateral meeting held in Brussels?
As you saw in President C. Michel’s statement, in line with the Sochi Statement of 26 November 2021, it was also agreed to convene a Joint Border Commission by the end of April. Its mandate will be to delimit the bilateral border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and ensure a stable security situation along, and in the vicinity of, the borderline. President C. Michel reaffirmed the EU’s readiness to provide advice and support. As you see, the Statement clearly speaks about the bilateral border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. However, as I said in reply to your previous question, we believe in general that a comprehensive settlement is needed that will address all issues that have been at the root of a conflict that has lasted more than 30 years.
Armenia has applied to OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship to facilitate negotiations on a peace agreement. What formats will the talks on the peace agreement be held in? What's the EU position on the role of the Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship in this issue?
As announced on 6 April, the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders agreed to instruct their Ministers of Foreign Affairs to work on the preparation of a future peace treaty. It is therefore our understanding that these talks will first and foremost be led by the two Foreign Ministers and, since we are talking about a future comprehensive solution, we believe many other agencies and representatives of the sides would need to be involved.
Obviously, we know about Yerevan’s position on the role of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. Yesterday, the Polish OSCE Chairmanship also “welcomed the meeting of the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan under the aegis of President of the European Council and launching of the process toward a possible peace agreement”. The Chairperson-in-office also expressed readiness to assist in all efforts to ensure a stable and peaceful environment in the South Caucasus. The EU welcomes all the positive comments made in support of the Brussels Second Trilateral Meeting and its outcomes.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that the basis of the agreements reached during the trilateral meeting held in Brussels was set in the result of the meetings of Armenian, Russian and Azerbaijani leaders. Lavrov called European colleagues to acknowledge this and “not to create any obstacles”. Lavrov also stated that in Charles Michel’s statement there was no word about Russia and this, according to the Russian Minister, speaks about the EU's intention to “use Nagorno-Karabakh issue to express its Russophobic rhetoric”. Lavrov stressed also that the bilateral commission on demarcation/delimitation will operate with the consultative engagement of Russia. How would you comment on these announcements?
Indeed, we saw the comments made by Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov during his joint press conference with his Armenian counterpart A. Mirzoyan in Moscow today. Allow me to disagree with a number of these assessments. In particular, on the Joint Border Commission, let me recall that the statement issued by President Michel clearly mentions that undertakings and agreements reached in Brussels on 6 April were “in line with the Sochi Statement of 26 November 2021”. As I said on several occasions during interviews with media outlets in the region, we do recognise Russia’s key decisive efforts in ending the war of 2020, as well as the diplomatic work done since then. The EU has a natural interest in security, stability and prosperity in our neighbourhood and I see our efforts as being complimentary to any other engagement that is aimed at supporting Armenians and Azerbaijanis in achieving sustainable peace and security in the region, for the benefit of all populations.