RFE/RL Armenian Service – 12/27/2023


Armenian FM Keeps Linking Peace Deal With Border Delimitation

        • Astghik Bedevian

Armenia - Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan speaks at a news conference in 
Yerevan, .

An Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty should contain a concrete mechanism for 
delimiting the long border between the two South Caucasus nations, Foreign 
Minister Ararat Mirzoyan insisted on Wednesday.

The border issue has been one of the main sticking points in ongoing talks on 
the treaty. Hikmet Hajiyev, a top foreign policy adviser to Azerbaijani 
President Ilham Aliyev, said last week that Baku believes "the border 
delimitation issue should be kept separate from peace treaty discussions." 
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov likewise noted afterwards that the 
treaty cannot “ensure a 100 percent solution to all issues.”

“It is extremely important for us that the future delimitation process is 
predictable and its principles, its foundations are fixed in the peace 
agreement,” said Mirzoyan. “For us, a reference to [concrete] maps would be such 
a way of ensuring that predictability without predetermining the results [of the 

The Armenian government has insisted, at least until now, on using specific 
Soviet military maps for that purpose. Baku rejects the idea backed by the 
European Union.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Iran’s visiting Foreign Minister 
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Mirzoyan said the conflicting sides continue to 
discuss the “possibility of incorporating maps” into the peace accord.

“We don’t have the final text of the agreement,” he said. “Therefore, nobody can 
tell what the end result of the negotiations will be.”

Armenian parliament speaker Alen Simonian indicated last Friday that Yerevan 
could agree to sign the treaty before the border delimitation. Armenian 
opposition leaders expressed serious concern over such a possibility, saying 
that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s government is ready to make more 
concessions to Baku without securing anything in return.

Pashinian and other Armenian officials themselves suggested this summer that 
Aliyev wants to leave the door open for future territorial claims to Armenia. 
Some Armenian analysts believe this is the reason why Aliyev keeps delaying 
further negotiations mediated by the United States and the European Union.

Mirzoyan on Wednesday listed the “avoidance of high-level meetings” among 
“negative signals” coming from Baku. He said at the same time that Yerevan hopes 
the Azerbaijani side will adopt a “more constructive” stance in the coming weeks.

Iran Insists On ‘Regional Guarantors’ Of Armenia-Azerbaijan Peace

Armenia - Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks at a news 
conference in Yerevan, .

Armenia and Azerbaijan should rely on Iran, Russia and Turkey, rather than 
“outside forces,” in trying to negotiate a peace deal, Iranian Foreign Minister 
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said during a visit to Yerevan on Wednesday.

The peace process appeared to be a key focus of his talks with Armenia’s Prime 
Minister Nikol Pashinian and Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan. Amir-Abdollahian 
discussed the issue with his Azerbaijani and Russian counterparts in separate 
phone calls on Tuesday.

Amir-Abdollahian said that he discussed with the Armenian leaders Iran’s 
possible role in Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran wants to see peace and stability [in the South 
Caucasus] ensured without the interference of outside forces and believes it can 
be achieved only with the help of regional guarantors,” he told a joint news 
conference with Mirzoyan held after the talks.

He said that the so-called “Consultative Regional Platform 3+3” involving 
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and Turkey is the most suitable format of 
doing that.

The foreign ministers of the five states held their first multilateral meeting 
in Tehran in October. Georgia has refused to join the platform launched in 
December 2021 in Moscow, citing continuing Russian occupation of its breakaway 

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told Pashinian last week that “extra-regional 
countries” must not be allowed to intervene in unresolved disputes in the South 
Caucasus. Raisi thus reaffirmed Iran’s strong opposition to Western presence in 
the region, which is shared by Russia.

By contrast, Pashinian’s government is now pinning hopes on U.S. and European 
Union efforts to broker an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty. Mirzoyan on 
Wednesday praised Iran’s strong support for Armenia’s territorial integrity but 
gave no indications that Yerevan would like Tehran to replace the Western powers 
as a mediator.

“I want to emphasize that the Islamic Republic of Iran supports the territorial 
integrity and sovereignty of Armenia,” Amir-Abdollahian said in Yerevan. He 
reaffirmed Tehran’s support for the Armenian government’s position on transport 
links with Azerbaijan.

During his meeting with Pashinian, the Iranian minister also praised the current 
state of Armenian-Iranian relations, saying that they are deepening in various 

“Our assessment is that the two countries are on the right track,” Pashinian’s 
press office quoted Amir-Abdollahian as saying.

Kocharian’s Corruption Trial Ends Without Verdict

        • Naira Bulghadarian

Armenia -- Former President Robert Kocharian greets supporters during his trial, 
Yerevan, February 25, 2020.

A court in Yerevan ended the marathon trial of former President Robert Kocharian 
on Wednesday after he agreed to plead the statute of limitations despite 
strongly denying corruption charges leveled against him.

Kocharian, who ruled Armenia from 1998-2008, was first arrested in July 2018 
shortly after the “velvet revolution” that brought Nikol Pashinian to power. He 
initially faced only charges stemming from a 2008 post-election crackdown on 
opposition protesters in Yerevan.

The ex-president was subsequently also charged with receiving a $3 million bribe 
from an Armenian businesswoman. He, his former chief of staff Armen Gevorgian 
and two retired army generals, went on trial in May 2019. They all rejected the 
accusations as politically motivated. Kocharian claimed that they are part of a 
“political vendetta” waged by Pashinian.

The coup charges against the defendants were dropped after Armenia’s 
Constitutional Court declared them unconstitutional in 2021. Kocharian and 
Gevorgian continued to stand trial for the alleged bribery.

Anna Danibekian, the judge presiding over the trial, closed the case without 
acquitting or convicting Kocharian. She argued that Kocharian has invoked the 
statute of limitations that expired in May this year.

Kocharian refused to make such a plea at the time, saying that he will keep 
fighting for his formal acquittal. One of his lawyers, Mihran Poghosian, said he 
has changed his mind because he now needs to go abroad for an urgent medical 
examination. In recent weeks, Danibekian has repeatedly declined to allow 
Kocharian to leave Armenia, Poghosian told reporters.

Kocharian was last released from custody on bail in June 2020. The end of his 
trial means that the bail money worth 2 billion drams ($5 million) will be 
returned to his daughter Gayane. The presiding judge also unfroze the 
69-year-old ex-president’s assets.

Kocharian, who now leads Armenia’s largest opposition alliance, would not go to 
jail even if he was found guilty.

Russia ‘Not Worried About’ Armenia’s Eurasian Union Presidency

Russia - President Vladimir Putin greets Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian 
during a CIS summit in St. Petersburg, .

Russia said on Wednesday that it is looking forward to Armenia’s upcoming 
presidency of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) despite heightened tensions 
between the two states.

Yerevan will take over the year-long rotating presidency on January 1. This was 
reaffirmed by the leaders of five ex-Soviet states making up the Russian-led 
trade bloc during a summit in Saint Petersburg on Monday.

Speaking during the summit, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian stressed that his 
government regards the EEU as a purely economic organization that must not have 
a “political and especially geopolitical agenda.”

“The EEU and its economic principles must not correlate with political 
ambitions,” Pashinian said without elaborating.

His remarks highlighted Yerevan’s deepening rift with Moscow and efforts to 
forge closer links with the European Union and the United States.

Speaking during a news briefing, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria 
Zakharova, was asked whether Moscow is worried about the Armenian presidency of 
the EEU in light of those remarks and Armenian leaders’ broader criticism of 

“Russia’s interaction with Armenia within the framework of the Eurasian Economic 
Union is built on a pragmatic and mutually beneficial foundation,” replied 
Zakharova. “We can see that Yerevan is drawing significant dividends from its 
participation in the union. Despite some ambiguous statements by representatives 
of the republic mentioned by you, we are building a constructive, depoliticized 
dialogue with our Armenian partners as well as with the other EAEU member 

“The prime minister of this country, speaking at the December 25 meeting of the 
Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Saint Petersburg, announced Yerevan’s focus 
on fully achieving EAEU objectives in the medium and long term,” she said, 
adding that Moscow supports Pashinian’s stated intention.

Russia accounts for over 95 percent of Armenia’s trade with the rest of the EEU 
and 35 percent of the South Caucasus nation’s overall commercial exchange, 
compared with the EU’s 15 percent share in the total.

Russian-Armenian trade has skyrocketed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and 
the resulting barrage of Western sanctions against Moscow. Armenian exports to 
Russia tripled in 2022 and nearly doubled in January-September 2023.

Aliyev, Pashinian Talk During CIS Summit

        • Shoghik Galstian

Russia - Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham 
Aliyev attend a CIS summit in Saint Petersburg, .

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian spoke with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on 
Tuesday during a summit of the leaders of ex-Soviet states in Saint Petersburg, 
an Armenian government spokeswoman said.

The official, Nazeli Baghdasarian, said they discussed the “Armenian-Azerbaijan 
peace agenda” during their “unofficial contacts” there.

“The discussions took place in a bilateral format,” Baghdasarian added without 
giving further details.

It was Aliyev’s and Pashinian’s first face-to-face conversation since 
Azerbaijan’s September 19-20 military offensive that restored Azerbaijani 
control over Nagorno-Karabakh and forced the region’s population to flee to 

The two leaders previously met in Brussels in July for talks hosted by European 
Union Council President Charles Michel. Aliyev twice cancelled more such talks 
which Michel planned to organize in October.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov similarly withdrew from a November 
20 meeting with his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan in Washington. Baku 
accused the Western powers of pro-Armenian bias and proposed direct negotiations 
with Yerevan.

Pashinian suggested on December 18 that Aliyev may be dragging his feet on a 
peace treaty with Armenia sought by the EU and the United States.

Russia has been very critical of the Western peace efforts, saying that they are 
primarily aimed at driving it out of the South Caucasus. On December 6, Moscow 
rebuked Yerevan for ignoring its recent offers to organize more 
Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations and warned that Pashinian’s current preference 
of Western mediation may spell more trouble for the Armenian people.

It is not clear whether Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to hold a formal 
trilateral meeting with Aliyev and Pashinian on the sidelines of Tuesday’s 
Commonwealth of Independent States summit. The Kremlin did not signal such 
attempts in the run-up to the summit.

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS