RFE/RL Armenian Service – 11/20/2023


EU Signals Readiness To Organize Armenia-Azerbaijan Talks ‘At Earliest Possible 

Toivo Klaar, the European Union’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus 
and the crisis in Georgia (file photo)

European Council President Charles Michel is “still ready and willing to 
organize a meeting of the leaders in Brussels at the earliest possible 

This was said by Toivo Klaar, the European Union’s Special Representative for 
the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia, in an interview with Armenia’s 
state-run Armenpress news agency published on Monday.

“For us the primary interest is to actually have an agreement between Armenia 
and Azerbaijan. And where that is ultimately signed is to us much less important 
than the fact that there is genuine normalization between Armenia and 
Azerbaijan,” he said.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev 
were scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the EU’s October 5 summit in Granada, 
Spain. Pashinian had hoped that they would sign there a document laying out the 
main parameters of an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty. However, Aliyev 
withdrew from the talks at the last minute.

The Azerbaijani leader also appears to have canceled another meeting which the 
EU’s Michel planned to host in Brussels later in October.

Most recently Azerbaijan refused to attend a meeting with Armenia at the level 
of foreign ministers in Washington after allegedly “biased” remarks by a senior 
U.S. official. That meeting was reportedly scheduled to be held on November 20.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said over the weekend that while the Washington 
platform was “no longer acceptable for Baku in negotiations with Yerevan”, it 
remained open to a possible continuation of talks in Brussels with the EU’s 

Klaar said that Brussels was “disappointed” with Aliyev’s decision not to come 
to Granada as “we thought that it was an important possibility and quite 
important forum to send strong messages.”

“President Michel is still ready and willing to organize a meeting of the 
leaders in Brussels at the earliest possible opportunity… Dates certainly are 
important. But the most important thing is to actually move forward and that is 
what we are focused on, to try to encourage forward movement in a genuine 
normalization of relations,” the EU special envoy said.

In Armenia, meanwhile, a senior member of Pashinian’s parliamentary Civil 
Contract faction said on Monday that Yerevan did not consider the negotiation 
process deadlocked despite Azerbaijan’s skipping three meetings in two months.

“Yes, they did refuse to participate in negotiations, but that does not mean 
that the processes have stopped. Besides, they have separate relations with 
different centers in the world, too, and these relations also impact our 
relations. And their relations with these centers have not ceased,” Arman 
Yeghoyan, head of the Armenian parliament’s standing commission on European 
integration issues, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

Yerevan, Brussels Sign Agreement On EU Mission Status in Armenia

Armenia/EU - Paruyr Hovannisian, Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia, and 
Vassilis Maragos, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Armenia, sign 
an agreement on the status of the EU mission in Armenia, Yerevan, November 20, 

The European Union and Armenia have signed an agreement on the status of the 
27-nation bloc’s mission in the South Caucasus country.

The official signing ceremony took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of 
Armenia on Monday.

The agreement was signed by Deputy Foreign Minister Paruyr Hovannisian and Head 
of the EU Delegation in Armenia, Ambassador Vassilis Maragos, the Armenian 
Foreign Ministry said.

Hovannisian said in early November that progress had been made in terms of 
fixing the status of the European Union mission (EUMA) in Armenia, and that an 
agreement on the immunity and privileges of EUMA observers would be signed soon.

“The strengthening and expansion of the EU mission is on Yerevan’s agenda,” the 
official said then.

In January the European Union approved the establishment of a civilian mission 
in Armenia. It said that monitors sent by different EU member states would 
strive to “contribute to stability in the border areas of Armenia, build 
confidence and human security in conflict-affected areas, and ensure an 
environment conducive to the normalization efforts between Armenia and 

About 100 monitors arrived in Armenia in late February. The mission has a 
mandate for two years and its operational headquarters is in Armenia.

Canada recently decided to join the mission. Last week EU foreign ministers gave 
the green light to a proposal to beef up the border-monitoring mission in 
Armenia. When the measure is submitted to the European Commission it will need 
to come up with a proposal on how the EUMA can be expanded. The decision of the 
European Commission, in turn, must be ratified by the 27 EU member states.

The EUMA, which operates from six Forward Operating Bases in Armenia’s four 
provinces bordering on Azerbaijan, said recently that since its deployment it 
has carried out more than a thousand patrols along the border.

Armenia Holds ‘Very Special Place’ From OSCE’s Perspective, U.S. Envoy To 
Organization Says

        • Karlen Aslanian

Dr. Michael Carpenter (R), United States Ambassador to the OSCE, is interviewed 
by Azatutyun TV, Yerevan, November 17, 2023.

Armenia holds a “very special place” from the perspective of the Organization 
for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a United States ambassador to 
this organization has told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

In an interview late last week Dr. Michael Carpenter said that Armenia has 
become “a model of how a country can reform itself and deepen its democratic 
institutions and take on rule-of-law issues in a very productive and 
constructive way.”

“So we see what’s happening here over the course of the last few years as a 
model that could be emulated elsewhere,” Carpenter said on the eve of the OSCE 
Parliamentary Assembly’s fall session held in Yerevan on November 18-20.

Carpenter stressed that the United States “continues to think it is extremely 
important for Armenia and Azerbaijan to normalize relations so that there is 
peace, stability in the region, and transport links are opened.”

“We think it is for the benefit of everybody and certainly for the United States 
to see peace and stability in this region. And so we are going to keep trying to 
facilitate that through the means that we have available. And we hope that the 
parties understand as well that this is in their interest, too,” the senior U.S. 
diplomat said.

In the context of Azerbaijan’s most recent refusal to engage in a meeting with 
Armenia in Washington citing “one-sided and biased remarks” by a senior U.S. 
official as a reason, Carpenter said that he “wouldn’t say that any window [of 
opportunity] is closed at the moment.”

“I wouldn’t put a fixed timeline to the negotiations process. And I wouldn’t 
have done that six months ago or a year ago. I think it is important that all 
parties redouble efforts to achieve durable peace and security in the region 
because again that and upholding human rights and democracy is critically 
important for us. So we are going to keep doing it,” he said.

Referring to the recent U.S. efforts to help Armenia and Azerbaijan make 
progress in the negotiations, Carpenter said that Washington will continue to 
offer “good offices” to the parties, adding that “ultimately it is up to the 
parties to decide which process is most conducive to their interests.”

At the same time, the U.S. ambassador to the OSCE said that “Russia is not a 
reliable party in negotiations.”

“Russia has proven over the course of the last 18 months plus that it is not 
reliable in any sphere, having violently and brutally assaulted its neighbor 
[Ukraine] and not just that, but having lied about various other international 
commitments and having broken those commitments repeatedly in recent years,” 
Carpenter said.

The U.S. diplomat would not be drawn into a discussion on what the OSCE’s Minsk 
Group has done in the past in the way of promoting a negotiated peace between 
Armenia and Azerbaijan in their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. “But clearly 
until we have a sustainable, durable peace deal and agreement between Armenia 
and Azerbaijan, our work will not be finished,” he said.

Carpenter said he was not aware of any contacts in the Minsk Group format, but 
acknowledged that “the Minsk Group continues to exist until the parties decide 

After the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh that resulted in Azerbaijan’s retaking 
all seven surrounding districts and establishing control over chunks of the 
Armenian-populated region proper, Baku claimed that the OSCE Minsk Group 
co-headed by Russia, the United States, and France had ceased to exist.

The apparent dysfunctionality of the group deepened after Russia’s invasion of 
Ukraine in February 2022 that was followed by Western condemnation of Moscow’s 
actions and support for Kyiv.

Prospects of renewed contacts between the West and Russia, which deployed a 
peacekeeping force in Nagorno-Karabakh under the terms of a 2020 Moscow-brokered 
ceasefire agreement, became even more vague after Azerbaijan established full 
control over the region in a lightning offensive in September this year that 
caused virtually the entire local Armenian population to flee to Armenia.


Another Karabakh Armenian Charged With War Crimes In Baku

Rashid Beglarian (second from the right) is being interrogated by an Azerbaijani 
investigator at a Karabakh location where he is accused of having committed a 
crime during the 1990s war.

Authorities in Baku have brought charges of alleged war crimes against a 
61-year-old man from Nagorno-Karabakh who, according to the Armenian side, was 
kidnapped by Azerbaijan weeks before its forces established full control over 
the region in a one-day military operation in September.

According to Azerbaijani media, Rashid Beglarian, who, Armenians say, strayed 
into an Azerbaijani-controlled territory near Nagorno-Karabakh on August 1, has 
been charged on five counts of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan, including 
“torturing Azerbaijani prisoners” and “participating in the activities of 
illegal armed groups.”

Citing the country’s State Security Service, Azerbaijan’s APA news agency also 
reported that Beglarian admitted that “ethnic Armenian forces, including 
himself, ambushed and gunned down 200 Azeri civilians, most of them women, 
children and elderly people” during February 1992 events near the Karabakh town 
of Khojaly (Khojalu) that Azerbaijan claims amounted to genocide.

The Armenian side has denied that Armenian forces targeted civilians during one 
of their early offensives in the 1992-1994 war, blaming the killings on the 
Azerbaijani forces allegedly seeking to prevent the evacuation of Khojaly’s 
ethnic Azeri residents.

Earlier this month, a court in Baku sentenced another Karabakh Armenian man 
Vagif Khachatrian to 15 years in prison after finding him guilty of “genocide” 
and “forced deportation of civilians,” charges that Khachatrian denied 
vehemently throughout the trial.

Khachatrian, 68, was detained by Azerbaijan’s military in late July as he was 
trying to leave Nagorno-Karabakh for Armenia. Armenia then also accused 
Azerbaijan of “kidnapping” a Karabakh resident.

Virtually the entire Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh – more than 100,000 
people – fled to Armenia two months ago after Azerbaijan carried out a 24-hour 
offensive to take the entire region under its control.

Eight current and former ethnic Armenian leaders of Nagorno-Karabakh, including 
three former presidents, have been detained by Azerbaijani forces and 
transferred to Baku where they are imprisoned pending trial on grave criminal 

Baku has so far acknowledged only nine Karabakh detainees. Armenia insists that 
their number is at least 16. The figure does not include 30 Karabakh soldiers 
and 12 civilians who are said to have gone missing during the Azerbaijani 
assault and remain unaccounted for.

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