Germany mediating peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan

First Post
Feb 28 2024

President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan has become more antagonistic toward outside intervention in attempting to mediate a settlement, charging that the US is endangering relations by supporting Armenia

Five months after Azerbaijan reclaimed its Karabakh region from its majority-Armenian population, causing a large-scale exodus of ethnic Armenians, Germany is hosting two days of peace talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan has become more antagonistic toward outside intervention in attempting to mediate a settlement, charging that the US is endangering relations by supporting Armenia.

However, in November, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited both nations. Additionally, on the fringes of the Munich Security Conference this month, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had meetings with Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

In December, the South Caucasus neighbours issued a joint statement saying they want to reach a peace deal.
Christian Armenia and mostly Muslim Azerbaijan first went to war over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh in 1988. After decades of enmity, Azerbaijan in September recaptured Karabakh, controlled by its ethnic Armenian majority since the 1990s despite being internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan.

The offensive prompted most of the region’s 120,000 ethnic Armenians to flee to neighbouring Armenia.
Armenia described the offensive as ethnic cleansing. Azerbaijan denied that and said those who fled could have stayed on and been integrated into Azerbaijan.

The German Foreign Ministry is hosting the talks. Baerbock will meet separately with her Azerbaijani and Armenian counterparts on Wednesday before hosting a trilateral meeting.

Parents Challenge Armenia’s Education Minister Over Controversial History Textbook

Feb 27 2024
Nimrah Khatoon

In the heart of Armenia, a battle not of swords but of words and beliefs unfolds, as parents of 7th grade students take a stand against the country's Education Minister, Zhanna Andreasyan. At the core of the dispute is a newly sanctioned Armenian History textbook that has sparked outrage and a legal challenge. The lawsuit, spearheaded by lawyer Ara Zohrabyan, accuses the textbook of undermining the foundational narratives of Armenian history, igniting a nationwide debate on historical authenticity and educational integrity.

On August 3, 2023, a new history textbook intended for 7th grade students received official approval from Minister Zhanna Andreasyan. Authored by S. Hovhannisyan, the textbook has become the center of a heated controversy for its portrayal of Movses Khorenatsi, often revered as the father of Armenian history, and his works as mythical. This characterization has led to an uproar among parents and educators alike, who argue that such depictions discredit Armenia's rich historical legacy. Lawyer Ara Zohrabyan, representing the aggrieved parents, has formally initiated legal action, seeking to invalidate the minister's sanction of the textbook.

The significance of Movses Khorenatsi in Armenian historiography cannot be overstated. Known as the "father of Armenian history," Khorenatsi's works are foundational to the nation's understanding of its early history and cultural identity. The decision to label his contributions as mythical within a school textbook has, therefore, struck a chord with many Armenians, who view it as an affront to their historical narrative and national pride. The lawsuit, thus, transcends beyond a mere legal battle, touching upon the delicate threads of identity, history, and the collective memory of a nation.

The controversy surrounding the textbook has ignited a broader debate on the role of education in shaping national identity and the boundaries of historical interpretation. Critics argue that the textbook's contentious portrayal of key historical figures and events could sow confusion among young students and erode a sense of national pride. Supporters of the textbook, however, contend that it encourages critical thinking and a more nuanced understanding of history, emphasizing the importance of questioning and re-evaluating established narratives. As the legal battle unfolds, the conversation extends into Armenian society, raising important questions about the balance between preserving national heritage and fostering a critical, open-minded approach to history.

The lawsuit against Minister Zhanna Andreasyan over the controversial 7th grade Armenian History textbook represents a pivotal moment in Armenia's ongoing struggle to define its historical narrative. As both sides present their arguments, the outcome of this legal challenge will likely have lasting implications for how history is taught and understood in Armenia, echoing far beyond the courtroom and into the heart of Armenian identity and culture.

Amidst Challenges, Russian Ambassador in Armenia Stresses the Importance of an Enduring Alliance

Feb 22 2024
María Alejandra Trujillo

As the crisp air of an early Yerevan morning mingled with the solemnity of Victory Park, a gathering marked by the gravity of historical remembrance and the warmth of shared sentiments unfolded. I stood among those assembled to observe Defender of the Fatherland Day, an occasion that, as Russian Ambassador to Armenia Sergey Kopyrkin would articulate, holds profound significance far beyond the ceremonials. It was a moment that encapsulated both the enduring bonds and the complex realities facing the Russia-Armenia alliance today.

"Today is not just a day of remembrance; it is a symbol of our ongoing commitment to the values of patriotism, love for the motherland, and the readiness to stand in its defense," Kopyrkin addressed the crowd, his voice imbuing the morning's chill with a palpable warmth. The day's resonance in Armenia, he noted, is deep-seated, rooted in the collective memory of a combative brotherhood that stretches back to the shared victory against Nazism. This historical tapestry, woven with the sacrifices of those who have laid down their lives, underscores a brotherhood that transcends time – a point Kopyrkin emphasized with solemn reverence.

Yet, amidst the remembrance, the specter of current adversities loomed large. Kopyrkin acknowledged the multifaceted challenges both nations face, emphasizing that these trials have only heightened the need to honor and respect those who serve. "The defenders of our fatherlands, in these trying times, deserve our utmost respect," he stated, a sentiment that resonated deeply with those in attendance. It was a poignant reminder that the values celebrated on Defender of the Fatherland Day – and indeed, the very concept of defense – have taken on new complexities in the contemporary geopolitical landscape.

Despite these challenges, Kopyrkin's message was ultimately one of hope and unity. He spoke of the preservation and strengthening of the Russia-Armenia alliance, not merely as a matter of state policy but as a reflection of the deep-seated ties that bind the peoples of both nations. The mutual celebration of holidays such as Defender of the Fatherland Day and Army Day in Armenia, observed on January 28, serves as a testament to this enduring connection. "Our allied relations stem from our peoples’ interests," Kopyrkin concluded, a statement that underscored the shared path both nations tread towards a future marked by cooperation and mutual respect.

As the event drew to a close and the attendees began to disperse, the significance of the day's commemorations lingered in the air, a reminder of the sacrifices made and the challenges ahead. Yet, in the words of Ambassador Kopyrkin and the shared sentiments of those gathered, there was also a palpable sense of hope – a recognition that the bonds forged in the crucible of history hold the promise of a resilient and enduring alliance.

Armenpress: Armenian Men’s Weightlifting team secures second place in European Championships medal standings


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 20, ARMENPRESS. In the medal standings of the European  Weightlifting Championships for men held in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, the Armenian national team has secured the second place.

The Armenian team has won 9 gold, 7 silver and 3 bronze medals.

The Bulgarian team has taken the first place with 11 gold medals.

RFE/RL Armenian Service – 02/16/2024


Pashinian Again Meets British Spy Chief

Armenia - Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian meets Richard Moore, chief of Britain's 
foreign intelligence agency, Yerevan, December 16, 2022.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian met on Friday with the chief of Britain's foreign 
intelligence agency, Richard Moore, on the sidelines of the annual Munich 
Security Conference.
In a one-sentence statement on the meeting, Pashinian’s press office said 
nothing about the agenda or other details of their conversation in the southern 
German city.

Moore, who runs the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) also known as MI6, 
previously met with Pashinian during a surprise visit to Yerevan in December 
2022. The Armenian government said at the time that they discussed “processes 
taking place in the South Caucasus.”

The British spy chief flew to the Armenian capital four days after meeting with 
Armen Grigorian, the pro-Western secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, in 
London. Shortly after that visit, Pashinian’s government pushed through the 
parliament a bill on the creation of an Armenian foreign intelligence service.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns visited Armenia and held 
talks with Pashinian in July 2022. Few details of those talks were made public.

Russian-Armenian relations have steadily deteriorated in recent years, with 
Yerevan accusing Moscow of not honoring security commitments and saying that it 
has to “diversify” Armenia’s foreign and security policy. Azerbaijan’s recapture 
of Nagorno-Karabakh last September only added to the tensions between the two 
longtime allies. Moscow has since repeatedly accused Pashinian of “destroying” 
Russian-Armenian relations.

Serzh Sarkisian Sees More Concessions To Baku

        • Anush Mkrtchian

Armenia - Former President Serzh Sarkisian and his supporters visit the Komitas 
Pantheon in Yerevan, March 25, 2022.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian will bow to pressure from Azerbaijan and make 
more concessions to Baku, former President Serzh Sarkisian claimed on Friday.

Pashinian complained about the Azerbaijani “policy of military coercion” on 
Thursday, saying that it is aimed at clinching more Armenian territory and other 
concessions from Yerevan. He said Baku may be planning to launch a “full-scale 
war against Armenia.” The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry dismissed the claim.

Sarkisian said Pashinian’s comments were designed to prepare the ground for 
meeting Azerbaijani demands.

“As a result of that pressure, something will again be surrendered without 
[Armenia getting] anything in return,” he told reporters.

Sarkisian’s Republican Party is one of Armenia’s leading opposition groups which 
say that Pashinian’s appeasement policy cannot lead to lasting peace and would 
only encourage Baku to demand more Armenian concessions. They say the Armenian 
government has failed to rebuild the country’s armed forces since the 2020 war 
in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Sarkisian, who ruled the country from 2008-2018, charged that the government is 
now actually “suppressing” Armenian army units protecting the border with 

On Tuesday, Azerbaijani forces opened fire at one of the sections of the border, 
killing four Armenian soldiers and wounding another. Baku said that they did so 
in retaliation against the alleged wounding of an Azerbaijani serviceman by 
Armenian cross-border fire on Monday.

In an unprecedented move, the Armenian military did not deny that its troops 
deployed in the area violated the ceasefire. It pledged to investigate the 
reported incident and, if necessary, punish military personnel responsible for 

“If the Azerbaijanis attack tomorrow or the day after, I think that our soldiers 
will not necessarily have a desire to resist because they could be investigated 
and punished for that resistance,” said Sarkisian, who has also served as 
Armenia’s defense minister in the past.

Armenian Official Dismisses Russian Warning On CSTO

        • Shoghik Galstian

Armenia - Sargis Khandanian attends a session of the Armenian parliament, 
September 13, 2021.

A senior Armenian lawmaker on Friday hit back at a top Russian diplomat who 
warned that Armenia will risk losing its independence if it keeps moving away 
from Russia and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

Over the past year Yerevan has boycotted high-level meetings, military exercises 
and other activities of the Russian-le alliance of six ex-Soviet states in 
response what it sees as a lack of CSTO support for Armenia in the conflict with 

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin criticized this stance in an 
interview with the Moscow daily Izvestia published on Thursday. Galuzin urged 
the Armenian government to resume its security cooperation with Russia and other 
CSTO allies, saying that there is no viable alternative to the country’s 
continued membership in the alliance.

“It is often claimed that in the current situation the CSTO and Russia can lose 
Armenia,” he said. “I think that we should talk not about the possible losses of 
Russia or the CSTO but about the fact that the fascination with Western factors 
on the one hand and the oscillations regarding whether to leave the CSTO or not 
on the other could lead to the loss of Armenia's identity and independence.”

Sargis Khandanian, the chairman of the Armenian parliament committee on foreign 
relations, dismissed the warning, saying that it is the CSTO, not Armenia, that 
should make a “choice.”

“Armenia is trying to deepen its relations with its many partners,” Khandanian 
told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. “We are going down the path of diversifying both 
our security and economic relations … and it is this path that will help to 
ensure Armenia's security, independence and sovereignty.”

Amid its growing estrangement from the CSTO and Russia in particular, Armenia is 
seeking closer security ties with the West. A senior NATO official praised this 
foreign policy “shift” last month.

He said Armenia and NATO are now working on a new “individually tailored 
partnership program” that will flesh out their closer partnership. The Russian 
Foreign Ministry responded by warning that closer ties with the U.S.-led 
alliance could only spell more trouble for the South Caucasus nation.

“Armenia makes decisions on its own,” said Khandanian. “We welcome the 
involvement of all parties that are ready to help Armenia become more secure and 
support its independence. Armenia also expects that no country will force it to 
make any decision.”

Critics of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s administration counter that the 
United States, NATO and the European Union are not giving Armenia any security 
guarantees or large-scale military aid.

Ex-Minister Put Under House Arrest

        • Naira Bulghadarian

Armenia - Former Economy Minister Vahan Kerobian attends a court hearing on his 
house arrest, Yerevan, .

A court in Yerevan allowed law-enforcement authorities to put former Economy 
Minister Vahan Kerobian under house arrest on Friday one day after they indicted 
him in an ongoing corruption investigation criticized by him.

Kerobian, who spent the night in custody, denied the accusations of abuse of 
power leveled against him and said he will appeal against the court’s decision 
when he spoke to journalists in the courtroom. He said he is not allowed to 
comment on details of the high-profile criminal case.

The accusations stem from a procurement tender organized by the Armenian 
Ministry of Economy last year. Another Armenian court invalidated in June the 
ministry’s decision to declare a major software company, Synergy International 
Systems, the winner of the tender. The decision followed a lawsuit filed by 
another bidder that set a much smaller price for its services.

Armenia’s Investigative Committee said late on Thursday that Kerobian and four 
other ministry officials rigged the tender in a bid to grant a $1 million 
procurement contract to Synergy “at any cost.” It said nothing about the reasons 
for the allegedly privileged treatment of the U.S.-registered company. None of 
the five indicted officials, including Kerobian’s former deputy Ani Ispirian, 
has been charged with bribery or embezzlement of public funds.

Armenia - Economy Minister Vahan Kerobian (left) and his deputy Ani Ispirian 
attend a news conference in Yerevan, January 8, 2024.

Kerobian openly defended his subordinates before resigning from his post on 
Wednesday. During a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian 
last week, he complained that the criminal proceedings have “paralyzed the work 
of the entire state system.”

Kerobian was formally relieved of his duties a few hours after announcing his 
resignation. In a statement, he said that he disagreed with Pashinian and wanted 
to step down on numerous occasions during his more than three-year tenure. He 
did not elaborate.

Kerobian on Friday confirmed media reports that the chief of Pashinian’s staff, 
Arayik Harutiunian, told him to resign shortly before he posted the statement on 
Facebook. He claimed that Harutiunian gave no reason for the recommendation.

“They were not happy with my work,” he said.

The ex-minister also said that he does not think the charges brought against him 
are politically motivated. Some Armenian commentators have suggested that 
Pashinian ordered this and a separate corruption probe involving another 
ministry official in hopes of boosting his falling approval ratings.

Kerobian, 47, was appointed as economy minister in November 2020 in the wake of 
Armenia’s disastrous war with Azerbaijan. He was until then the chief executive 
of a food delivery company which he had set up with his wife and a friend. He 
previously managed an Armenian supermarket chain that went bankrupt before being 
purchased and rebranded by other investors.

Reposted on ANN/Armenian News with permission from RFE/RL
Copyright (c) 2024 Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Inc.
1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.


Azerbaijan continues ‘policy of military coercion’ against Armenia, warns Pashinyan


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 15, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has commented on the latest Azeri aggression targeting Armenia which left 4 soldiers dead and 1 wounded.

Speaking at the Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that 4 on-duty servicemen near Nerkin Hand in Syunik Province were killed as a result of the aggressive actions of Azerbaijan on February 13. He expressed condolences to the families and friends of the fallen troops and said that the shooting was yet another manifestation of Azerbaijan’s destructive policy.

He reminded that Armenian authorities had launched an investigation into Azeri allegations that a day before an Armenian border guard had opened fire and wounded an Azeri soldier. Troops are instructed to not allow ceasefire violations and not give in to provocations, and thus, if the investigation were to conclude that a violation had taken place, those guilty would face consequences. “Nonetheless, the next morning Azerbaijan opened intense fire at the abovementioned position, which resulted in four deaths. The description of events shows that Azerbaijan’s intentions remain the same: to engage in a policy of military coercion against the Republic of Armenia. It is our impression that Azerbaijan doesn’t display any interest in ensuring border stability and security and there are numerous grounds for this. For example, back in 2022, we reached an agreement that the delimitation commissions’ mandate should include also border security issues. In accordance with the agreement, the Republic of Armenia created the Commission on State Border Delimitation and Border Security Issues between the Republic of Armenia and Republic of Azerbaijan, assuming that the commissions would also work around matters of border security, but Azerbaijan, despite the agreement, named its commission the State Commission for State Border Delimitation between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, skipping the security component. This and several other circumstances give the grounds to conclude that Azerbaijan continues to engage in the so-called ‘give me what I want through talks otherwise I will take it through war’ policy,” Pashinyan said.

Azerbaijan’s reaction is disproportionate: Josep Borrell on Azerbaijani aggression


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 13, ARMENPRESS. High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell  has  addressed  deadly  Azerbaijani  aggression against Armenia on February 12, which resulted in four Armenian casualties.

According to the Armenpress correspondent,  Borrell first recalled the statement issued by the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan on February 12 that a soldier was allegedly injured as a result of a shot fired by the Armenian armed forces, and then noted that Azerbaijan's response was disproportionate.

"This once again underscores the necessity and urgency of establishing a distance between the opposing forces. This is what the European Union has been demanding for a long time. I reaffirm the full and complete commitment of the European Union to support sustainable peace based on the recognition of sovereignty, inviolability of borders, and territorial integrity," Borrell said.

Armenian, Dutch foreign ministers discuss South Caucasus, EU partnership and more

 14:40, 8 February 2024

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 8, ARMENPRESS. Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan has met in The Hague with the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands Hanke Bruins Slot.

The foreign ministers exchanged views around prospects of expanding the Armenian-Dutch bilateral agenda and political dialogue, the foreign ministry said in a readout. 

The steps made in the direction of strengthening democracy and the rule of law in Armenia and the readiness for further bilateral cooperation in this direction were underscored. Armenia’s accession to the ICC was noted with satisfaction in this context, as well as in context of fighting impunity.

Issues pertaining to the Armenia-EU partnership were discussed.

FM Mirzoyan attached importance to the continuous development of partnership in various directions, including for further strengthening of Armenia’s resilience.

The FMs also discussed the latest developments and the general security situation in the South Caucasus.

Foreign Minister Mirzoyan presented to his Dutch counterpart Armenia’s vision of establishing stability and peace in the region. Speaking about the course of the work around the draft peace treaty, FM Mirzoyan said that the process requires not only Armenia’s but also Azerbaijan’s unambiguous commitment around key issues. FM Mirzoyan underscored the fundamental principles for Armenia in the normalization process with Azerbaijan, namely the importance of unwavering adherence to territorial integrity and inviolability of borders. In context of the unblocking of transport and economic routes in the region and Armenia’s agenda of peace, FM Mirzoyan highlighted the well-known principles of the Crossroads of Peace project.

The Armenian and Dutch foreign ministers agreed to continue active contacts and discussions around all issues of mutual interest.

Armenia joining ICC signals a growing schism with Russia

France – Feb 2 2024

Armenia formally joined the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday – signalling that it wants to move against Azerbaijan, which it accuses of "ethnic cleansing" in the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave. ICC membership also means a growing gap with Yerevan's traditional ally, Moscow.

By:Jan van der Made

The ICC's Rome Statute officially entered into force for Armenia on 1 February.

"Joining the ICC gives Armenia serious tools to prevent war crimes and crimes against humanity on its territory," according to Yeghishe Kirakosyan, Armenia's Foreign Minister.

He said that Armenia's integration into the court "first of all concerns Azerbaijan", referring to two wars with the neighbouring country over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region – where Russia deploys peacekeepers.

Neither Azerbaijan nor Russia recognise the ICC, along with other countries including the United States, China and Israel.

How does the ICC relate to the Rome Statute?

The International Criminal Court was established by the Rome Statute, a treaty adopted at a diplomatic conference in the Italian capital on 17 July 1998 and that came into force on 1 July 2002. It outlines the court's functions, jurisdiction and structure.

The statute identifies four core international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. No statute of limitations applies to these offences. According to the Rome Statute, the ICC is authorised to investigate and prosecute these crimes only in situations where states are unable or unwilling to do so themselves.

The court's jurisdiction is complementary to that of domestic courts and extends to crimes committed within the territory of a state party or by a national of a state party. An exception is made for cases where the ICC's jurisdiction is authorised by the United Nations Security Council.

As of November 2023, 124 states were parties to the statute.

Armenia becoming a full-fledged member of the court risks further complicating Yerevan's relationship with Moscow.

Last March, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over the war in Ukraine and the alleged illegal deportation of children to Russia.

Yerevan is now obligated to arrest the Russian leader if he sets foot on Armenian territory.

But Armenia is also home to a permanent Russian military base and part of a Moscow-led military alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, which also counts other ex-Soviet republics Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan as members.

Moscow called Armenia's accession to the ICC an "absolutely unfriendly step".

Russia's state-owned Tass News Agency quotes Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin as saying that the ICC "has nothing to do with justice; rather, it is a highly politicised pro-Western structure that executes orders to prosecute figures who are undesirable to the West".

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has tried to reassure Russia that his country is only addressing what it says are war crimes committed by Azerbaijan in their long-running conflict, and is not aiming at Moscow.

But Western countries hailed the ratification, which marks the expansion of the court's jurisdiction into what was long seen as Russia's backyard.

"The world is getting smaller for the autocrat in the Kremlin," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said after Armenia ratified the ICC statute in October, referring to Putin.

France also strongly backed Armenia's membership of the ICC.

In November, when Armenia officially applied to join the court, France's Foreign Ministry said it welcomed the move as an "important step towards fighting impunity".

Observers say Armenia could use its membership as a form of deterrent against possible Azerbaijani aggression.

The threat of the court investigating crimes committed as part of any attack on Armenia would "serve as a sword of Damocles of sorts, making Azerbaijan more reluctant to perpetrate acts of aggression against Armenia", legal researcher Mischa Gureghian Hall of the US-based Centre for Truth and Justice told

To give itself the option of pursuing Azerbaijani soldiers for war crimes allegedly committed during fighting along the border between the two countries in September 2022, the portal noted, Armenia backdated the ICC's jurisdiction to May 2021.