The statement issued at the end of the meeting between Vladimir Putin, Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan in Moscow on January 11 ignores the needs of the Armenian side and deepens the uncertainly concerning its security.
The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) expresses its deepest concerns over the outcome of this tripartite meeting which failed to achieve any progress regarding paragraph 8 of the ceasefire document of 9. November 2020 i.e. the release of the Armenian Prisoners of war (POW) and hostages. Despite this, the Armenian side agreed on the implementation of paragraph 9 of the same document. This is all the more disappointing since prior to the meeting the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had publicly announced that the issue of POWs was a priority for the Armenian government and that without significant progress in this field it would be extremely difficult to discuss any economic agenda.
Nevertheless, the Armenian Prime Minister signed the statement, stipulating the creation of a new transport link Turkey-Nakhichevan-Azerbaijan through the Armenian territory, thus opening the door to the implementation of Erdogan’s pan-Turkic Ottoman agenda. In “exchange” Armenia, which already has access to Russia via Georgia and a direct, open border with Iran, receives an imposed commercial route to these two countries with the railway links via Azerbaijan. Considering the state driven Armenophobia in Azerbaijan targeting even Armenian children, the cruel war crimes committed by the Azerbaijani military against the Armenians only 2 months ago, the ongoing torture and abuse of the Armenian prisoners of war as well as the hostile rhetoric of the Azerbaijani authorities, imposing a commercial route at this stage raises numerous questions in terms of broader security and sovereignty of Armenia.
Armenia seems to be the only party to the conflict which not only fulfills but overfulfills its obligations, stipulated by ceasefire document signed on 9. November 2020. Thus:
• The first paragraph of the above-mentioned document states that the parties “shall stay at the positions they occupy”. Nevertheless, a few Armenian towns and villages in Nagorno Karabakh were ceded to Azerbaijan although the Azerbaijani armed forces had failed to take control of them during the war.
• A hasty, unsubstantiated, and highly dangerous demarcation process started between the Republic of Amenia and Azerbaijan, endangering key infrastructure (such as an airport in the city of Kapan), resulting in a significant loss of property of Armenian villagers and creating existential safety concerns of the bordering settlements of the Republic of Armenia.
• In the meantime, Azerbaijan has been refusing to fulfill its only obligation of releasing all the Armenian POWs, hostages and detainees. Instead, the Azerbaijani authorities have been abusing this humanitarian issue to elicit new gains and cause further physical and psychologically suffering. The Azerbaijani sources have been posting videos of humiliating Armenian hostages, including helpless elderly people. Several videos of desecration of Armenian cultural monuments have also emerged.
Commenting on the statement of 11. January, the EAFJD President Kaspar Karampetian stated:
“This declaration is unfortunately new failure for the Armenian side to defend its basic security, humanitarian needs and achieve the fulfillment an important requirement of the statement of 9. Nov. 2020, namely the return of the hostages. As a matter of fact, The Armenian side signed a new document despite not having achieved the fulfillment of its only urgent and crucial requirement. Considering the current circumstances, the unresolved security concerns, the strong Armenophobia in Azerbaijan and the pan-Turkic aspirations of Erdogan’s Turkey, the reached arrangement creates major security concerns for the South of Armenia and for country’s sovereignty overall.”
Regarding the issue of the return of the prisoners of war Karampetian said:
“We were expecting Russia to play its role as a just mediator and put more pressure on Azerbaijan so that the latter fulfills its obligation of returning the POWs and hostages. It is disappointing that there were no tangible results in this sense. The other two Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk group, the European Union and the international human rights organizations must also intervene, to stop the torture and abuse of the Armenian hostages by the Azerbaijani authorities and ensure their return.”
European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy